For ten years, the work of Francis Alÿs revolved around the historic centre of Mexico City, the area within a radius of ten city blocks from his studio that included the emblematic Zócalo and hubs of commerce, politics, religion, nightlife, poverty, etc. The exhibition Francis Alÿs. On Foot from the Studio consisted of a selection of his photographs that charted a path through this area. Overheard conversations and the stories told by these paths were the primary source of Alÿs’s artistic practice, and walking was an essential part of his creative process. This makes this publication a synthesis of Mexico, which Carlos Monsiváis describes as a “build-up of periods in history and contradictory situations’ in the essay in which he reflects at length on the city’s historic centre.
From a selection of photographs by Alÿs, put together by themes, the Mexican writer Carlos Monsiváis initiates a long reflection on the historic centre as seen by the artist.