Michel François claims no signature style. Instead, he creates a web of shifting connections between his works and each different exhibition. His conceptual practice includes sculpture, video, photography, printed matter, painting and installation work. The titles of his solo exhibitions often point to his interest in contemporary reality, offices, domestic environments, surveillance, psychology and the police state. To cite just a few: State of Being, Urban Placarding, Expanded Bureau, Déjà vu, Theatre of Operations and Pieces of Evidence. The meanings in his works accumulate over time and vary according to their disposition in space, or the context. In a manner similar to that of the Arte Povera artists, François uses great economy of means to transform seemingly uncomplicated objects and materials, or traces of past events, into deeply resonant carriers of meaning. His work can be seen as exploration of cause and effect, and the ways in which simple gestures can change the status of an object or have important consequences. A number of recent sculptural works, without immediately revealing their origins or the way they were made, invite the viewer to consider the degree to which the hand of the artist, or chance, played a role in their formation.
Michel François (b. 1956, Saint-Trond, Belgium) lives and works in Brussels. He represented Belgium at the Venice Biennale with Ann Veronica Janssens in 1999 and his work was included in Documenta 9 (1992). Recent museum exhibitions include Nineteen thousand posters. 1994-2016, Frac île-de-France, le château, Rentilly (2016); Pièce à conviction, Middelheim Museum, Antwerpen (2016); Pieces of Evidence, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2013); and Plans d’évasion, SMAK, Ghent (traveling exhibition 2009-10).
23 October 2019—15 March 2020
ING Art Center, Brussels, Belgium
20 June—3 September 2020
Le Centre international d’art verrier, Meisenthal, France