Texts by Juan García, Emilio Rivera, and Enrique Huerta
The Sign Painting Project came into being between 1993 and 1997 through a collaboration between Francis Alÿs and professional local sign painters (rótulistas) from Mexico City, particularly Juan García, Emilio Rivera, and Enrique Huerta. This major, extensive project was inspired by the pictorial style of billboards Alÿs encountered in his neighborhood in the Centro Histórico, and he began by painting small-scale canvases depicting people, everyday objects, and scenes of nondescript urban architecture in the flat, brightly-colored manner of those street advertisements. He then asked the rótulistas to copy and enlarge his paintings. The result of the artists’ combined labors is a set of 120 paintings that reveal variations on particular themes and that inevitably provoke questions about collaboration, authorship and originality. Today the resulting paintings are scattered throughout the world, and this book, which features 300 color plates, acts as a catalogue raisonné of that project.