Le Château

Michel François, Speaker’s Corner 1, 2006, Collection du frac île-de-france, © Adagp, Paris

Nineteen thousand posters.1994-2016 – Michel François

Opening on Saturday 12 March, from 4pm.

The frac île-de-france’s latest exhibition at the Château de Rentilly looks at a particular aspect of the work of the Belgian artist Michel François (b. 1956 in Saint-Trond). While François’s work is essentially sculptural, it uses a wide range of media, from drawing and installation to video and, most importantly, photography.

Epitomising this key role, each of the artist’s exhibitions since 1994 has been accompanied by the publication of a large-scale (120 x 180 cm) poster based on one of his photographs. The exhibition at the Château de Rentilly presents this ongoing series of works, which has recently entered the collection of the frac île-de-france.

The posters have previously been shown at the Centre de Création Contemporaine Olivier Debré in Tours and the Musée des Arts Contemporains, Site du Grand-Hornu (Belgium). In both instances, they had been arranged into piles on the floor, encouraging exhibition goers to take home one or more copies. At the Château de Rentilly, visitors will also be able to appropriate the artist’s work by leaving the venue with a poster in hand.

While this protocol, in a nod to Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s unlimited editions, asks questions around authorship and the status and permanence of art, François’s images/posters derive from an fundamentally sculptural approach. Beyond their materiality in the exhibition space (which can take different forms including, for instance, an all-over wallpaper), the scenes they depict appear to define themselves precisely through their reality and physical presence. The construction of these photographs echoes the artist’s sculptural practice in that it radiates a strong sense of tension, contrast and density. Similarly, their framing, at times carefully constructed and at others more intuitive, evidences a particular relationship to reality, that is, the desire to sample reality so as to reveal the plasticity of the visible world.

A frontal view of a ghost tower, young boys suspended in the air, a Hitchcockian vision of a woman in black, massive granite rocks, bodies in various liquids, holes, openings, gestures, attitudes… François’s images visualise the artist’s concerns in his approach of space and bodies, or the relationship he entertains with the world as a sculptor through and through.


save the dates

Visit with Guillaume Désanges
Sunday 24.04.16 – 3:30pm

Visit with Michel François
Sunday 19.06.16 – 3:30pm

Visit with Xavier Franceschi
Sunday 03.07.16 – 3:30pm

Guided tours
Each Sunday – 3:30pm


Michel François (b. 1956 in Saint-Trond, Belgium) lives and works in Brussels. Together with Ann Veronica Janssens he represented Belgium at the Venice Biennale in 1999, and his work was presented at documenta IX in 1992. Recent solo exhibitions include Pieces of Evidence at Ikon Gallery in Birmingham (2014); Pièces à conviction at the CRAC in Sète; Michel François: Le trait commun at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris (2012); 45.000 affiches, 1994-2011 at MAC’s, Site du Grand Hornu (Belgium); 22.500 affiches, 1994-2011 at the CCC  Tours (2011); and Plans d’évasion at SMAK in Gand and at IAC in Villeurbanne (itinerant exhibition, 2009–10).