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Michel François Biography

Michel François is a conceptual artist and makes sculptures, videos, photographs, printed matter (posters and newspapers), paintings and installations. He claims no signature style but creates a web of shifting connections between his works and in each different exhibition. 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. His lace-like wall sculptures, for example, are the result of the thermic shock provoked by pouring molten bronze onto a cold floor. He also collects drawings and transforms them into sculptures known as Scribbles.

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He represented Belgium at the Venice Biennale with Ann Veronica Janssens in 1999 and his work was included in Documenta IX, Kassel, in 1992.

Michel François was born in Saint-Trond, Belgium, in 1956. He lives and works in Brussels.

Text courtesy Xavier Hufkens.

Michel François
featured artworks

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Instant Gratification by Michel François contemporary artwork sculpture
Michel François Instant Gratification, 2013 Bronze
145 x 139 x 2 cm
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Enroulement by Michel François contemporary artwork mixed media
Michel François Enroulement, 2023 Paper, foam, nuts, glass, stone, desert rose, magnets, pyrite and ink
64 x 62 x 6 cm
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Arbre India by Michel François contemporary artwork photography
Michel François Arbre India, 2018 C-print
120 x 180 cm
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Crash by Michel François contemporary artwork photography
Michel François Crash, 2010 C-print
80 x 60 cm
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P. à L'infini by Michel François contemporary artwork photography
Michel François P. à L'infini, 1995 Silver print
60 x 80 cm
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Mud Volcano by Michel François contemporary artwork photography
Michel François Mud Volcano, 2022 Silver print
60 x 80 cm
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Savon Mâle by Michel François contemporary artwork photography
Michel François Savon Mâle, 1992 Silver print
80 x 60 cm
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