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Francis Alÿs: Ricochets

image of children playing jump rope

A new immersive exhibition celebrating the universality and ingenuity of play: Ricochets is the largest institutional show in the UK by internationally renowned artist Francis Alÿs in almost 15 years.

For the past two decades, Alÿs has travelled around the world to film the critically acclaimed series Children’s Games: from ‘musical chairs’ in Mexico, to ‘leapfrog’ in Iraq, ‘jump rope’ in Hong Kong, and ‘wolf and lamb’ in Afghanistan.

Ricochets transforms our gallery into a cinematic playground: throughout the exhibition, visitors will be immersed in multi-screen film installations focussing on children’s games. Since 1999, Alÿs has recorded children at play in different contexts and environments around the globe. Alongside the first presentation of Children’s Games in the UK, the exhibition debuts a new body of animated films depicting both traditional and lesser-known hand games played by children and adults alike. 

Book by 10am Mon 27 Jun to save £4 off your exhibition ticket.

Tagged with: Art & design

Generously supported by the John S Cohen Foundation, the Delegation of Flanders (Embassy of Belgium) and the Company of Arts Scholars Charitable Trust.

From 15 May-27 Jun, ticket prices are as follows:

  • Standard: £13
  • Universal Credit: £9
  • Students: £9
  • Over-65s: £9
  • Art Fund: £8.50
  • Young Barbican: £5
  • Under 14s: Free
  • Members: Free

Membership Plus
Free entry + guest

Free entry

Become a Member

To book members tickets, first log in to your account and then when booking select 'standard tickets'. Your discount will apply on the confirmation page. 

Corporate Membership
Free entry

Become a Corporate Member

Subject to availability. 

Universal Credit: £13

Students: £13

Over-65s: £13

Art Fund Members: £8.50

Under 14s: Free

Discounts are subject to availability. They cannot be combined to make greater savings.

In purchasing concession tickets, you agree that they will only be used by a person with those needs. Please bring proof of discount status where possible.

Our PWYC visits take place every Thursday from 5 – 8pm (last entry is 7pm).

Select the price you can pay and enjoy the exhibition. If you're able to pay £18, you'll be helping to support our Visual Arts programme.







*Excludes £1.50 booking fee

Francis Alÿs

With a career spanning four decades, Alÿs has forged a unique and radical practice ranging from painting and drawing to film and animation. Trained as an architect and urbanist in Tournai, Belgium and Venice, Italy, Alÿs moved to Mexico City in 1986. The rapidly shifting urban context and the consequent changes to social dynamics in the late 1980s inspired him to become a visual artist, developing his early public interventions. Works like Paradox of Praxis 1 (Sometimes Making Something Leads to Nothing), 1997, wherein Alÿs pushed a large block of melting ice through the streets of Mexico City for nine hours, quickly established him as a leading artist of his generation.

Working in collaboration with local communities around the world, his engagement with cross-cultural contexts from Latin America to North Africa and the Middle East operates beyond dominant, Western-centric narratives. What emerges is a lifelong exploration of art as a vehicle for witnessing social and political change.

Gallery sound levels

Please be aware that the video installation has loud sound levels. Should you or one of your group have specific sensory needs we encourage you to bring either ear defenders or ear plugs with you.  There will be a limited number to borrow on site, please enquire at the Art Gallery Ticket Desk for these. 

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Pay What You Can

Every Thursday from 5 – 8pm, entry to Francis Alÿs: Ricochets is priced Pay What You Can.

Simply pick the price you can pay and enjoy the exhibition. If you're able to pay £17, you'll be helping to support our Visual Arts programme at the Barbican.

Want to see more art for free? Become a member today

See more art for less

Visit all our exhibitions for free, as many times as you like. Members Plus can bring a guest for free, too.


Entry to the Art Gallery is free for students up to Year 9 (UK), or international equivalents.

A discounted group booking rate of £3 per student is available for older students in formal education groups of more than 10 people, up to the age of 19. 

If you’d like to find out more about our current exhibition, or arrange a school visit, please email 

Art Gallery