An artist in public square


  • Germana Konrath
  • Paulo Edison Belo Reyes



contemporary art, Francis Alÿs, public space


At the intersection between the City, the Urban and the Human, between artistic and scientific knowledge, this text is placed, proposing the superposition of distinct forces acting on a given public space. The most emblematic place is the Plaza de la Constitución (or el Zócalo, as it is popularly known): the largest and oldest square in the center of Mexico City. This urban space gains new layers and dynamics through the poetic actions of the Belgian-Mexican artist, Francis Alÿs, who develops part of his work there. The article presents four of these actions, carried out between 1994 and 1999, and discusses its capacity for tensioning the temporalities at stake in the created situations and for provoking critical and political thinking about the sociabilities and urban identities that agitate there. Alÿs's set of artistic interventions will be debated through Lefebvre's theoretical legacy and the notion of the right to the city; de Rancière's and the relationship between aesthetics and politics; de Deleuze and Guattari's regarding agenciamentos e territorializations. The authors will help to structure an analysis matrix and thus launch possible readings about the contributions of the artist and his actions to the public space, working from the contemporary to talk about the many times that make up the now.


ALŸS, F; MEDINA, C. Diez cuadras alrededor del estudio/ Walking Distance From the Studio. Cidade do México: Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso, 2006.

CERTEAU, M. A invenção do cotidiano. Petrópolis: Vozes, 1994.

DELEUZE, G; GUATTARI, F. Mil Platôs: Capitalismo e esquizofrenia. V.4 e V.5. São Paulo: Editora 34, 1997. 5 v.

FERGUSON, R. et al. Francis Alÿs. Londres: Phaidon, 2007.

LEFEBVRE, Henri. O direito à cidade. 5 ed. São Paulo: Centauro, 2008.

RANCIÈRE, J. Sobre Políticas Estéticas. Barcelona: MACBA/UAB, 2005.

_____. A partilha do sensível: estética e política. 2 ed. São Paulo: Editora 34, 2009.

Site oficial do artista (com vídeos dos trabalhos na íntegra):



How to Cite

Konrath, G., & Reyes, P. E. B. (2024). An artist in public square. OBSERVATÓRIO DE LA ECONOMÍA LATINOAMERICANA, 22(2), e3102.