For this work Alÿs purchased a gun in Mexico City then walked through the city streets with the weapon in his hand. After eleven minutes he was arrested by the police. The following day he repeated the action, this time in cooperation with the police. By presenting a record of this dramatic action alongside footage of its reenactment, Alÿs blurs the boundaries between documentation and fiction. Questioning the concept of authenticity, this work demonstrates “how media can distort and dramatize the immediate reality of a moment,” the artist has said.
Gallery label from Francis Alÿs: A Story of Deception, May 8–August 1, 2011.