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Fairy Tales, Stockholm

Francis Alÿs, Belgian, born 1959

Made in Mexico, North and Central America


Right painting: oil, enamel, and encaustic paints on canvas on wood Left painting: oil, enamel, and encaustic paints on wood

Right painting: 7 1/8 × 11 5/16 inches (18.1 × 28.7 cm) Left painting: 7 3/16 × 11 1/4 inches (18.2 × 28.6 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Contemporary Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with the Edith H. Bell Fund, 2007

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Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art Handbook (2014 Edition)

    This pair of paintings references a performance walk Francis Alys undertook in Stockholm from the Museum of Science and Technology to the Nordic Museum. Each figure’s unraveling blue sweater, like the one worn by Alys during the walk, leaves a trail suggesting his otherwise intangible journey. When displayed, the two nearly identical paintings are to be shown in separate galleries. The deja vu experienced by viewers upon unexpectedly encountering the second canvas invites them to consider their individual paths through the Museum’s spaces, while the apparent repetition alludes to the artist’s interest in the circular temporality of fairy tales. A visual archive documenting Alys’s performance accompanies the paintings and lends further context to the project. Adelina Vlas, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2014, p. 413.