Autoportrait contre-nature, 2001

Betacam SP, PAL, couleur, son

Sculptor, video artist, photographer, Michel François, artist born in 1956 in Belgium, is all of these things at once. His works, made up of images, objects, attempt to translate what he calls the 'beauty of experience'. He is interested in the surprise that can unravel from our relationship with the world closest to us, that of objects, of nature, of the street, of daily life.

In this video, Michel François tackles the notion of the self-portrait backwards. Indeed, the image taken from above only reveals fragments of the artist: the top of his head, his legs… the artist chooses a fixed framing, focused on the stage. Bottles fall one after the other in slow motion, nearly crashing onto him, and shatter on the floor, in a resonating crash. Moving constantly, the artist escapes the fall of objects as if by miracle, giving the scene a burlesque aspect. Michel François likes to change our point of view on things. The space disturbs our sense of gravity and places the objects in a state of temporal dilatation. He shows them to us in an 'intermediate state', that 'splendid instant' that precedes their disappearance. 'Things are there, at the best of their presence, fragile and temporary'.

[1] Christine Macel, "Entretien avec Michel François", Les cahiers du MNAM, automne 2002.

C. R.

Translated by Mia Stern, 2021