Educated at Brussels' École de recherche graphique (ERG), Michel François doesn't want to limit himself to one discipline. He uses all sorts of materials and a range of methods, combining industrial and natural objects, photographs and installations into a result that appeals to all of our senses. François analyses and refers to everyday customs and habits in associative manner without detracting from their general validity. By way of simplification we could say that Michel François is a sculptor. His work is caught between the temptation to enlarge or fill in voids and the temptation to hollow out or fill out solids. As a video-maker each one of his sequences forms a transition to the next sequence, and his whole output is based on his skill at isolating interludes, minor occurrences and unsuccessful, revived acts from that real time which principally consists in spare time. Central in Michel François's work is the personal perception of reality although he himself remains strikingly in the background, anonymously documenting the events taking place. This position is exemplary in his videos, each one of them a record of private or public life with its own particular speed and rhythm. Whether he is filming a pair of feet running on treadmills, a wooden chair endlessly falling down stairs and chattering into pieces or falling mikado sticks, the objects depicted in quick succession do not represent commentaries, reactions or answers to political, cultural or economic questions. Being non-autobiographical in nature, neither posed nor staged, they explore cause and effect. They are experimental in nature and immediately explicable.
François intents on creating a space of reflection or of self-awareness, by showing normal human occurrences as well as recognisable processes and objects. Yet at the same time he reverses things, or rather, turns them inside out. François inventories the world around us by way of antitheses: formal opposites such as the sculptural extremes of concave-convex and empty-full; and such opposites as freedom and imprisonment, poor and rich. Work versus free time is one of the contrasts that determine our day to day life. In his photographs and video-works Michel François does not construct his work within an autonomous, digital world but he finds his subjects in the real - almost by definition anti-heroic - ordinary world. At the same time, this living context is the place where his art is displayed. François's images possess nothing of the unique, isolated object. His view is not attached to what has been canonised but to the liveliness of everyday life. What is registered by Michel François is the unexpected in the familiar, the intense in the inconstant. He seems to have the quality to let the things happening around him lead a life of their own, as filtering the world with respect to content and form, however, without distancing himself from his subject. François's photographs and videos reveal themselves as paintings with restrained or openly expressed sculptural qualities. No matter how they are defined, they are qualities of his physical and emotional life that confront the qualities of the spectator's physical and emotional life. "L'art, de toute façon, c'est la vie que l'on sculpte", thus François.