Mur à l'emporte-pièce
Mediator - Thérèse Legierse, The New patrons of Belgium
Supporters - City of Ghent
Sint-Annaplein 31, Ghent, Belgium, 2005
Mur à l'emporte-pièce is a work that combines the real and symbolic view on the city and community that is the commissioners' workplace. The wall of the Artevelde Hogeschool at the 'jongenstragel' is different from the other Blind Walls because it is visible on both sides. This wall isn't a flat surface and in that way a medium for wall painting, but a 3D element that can be treated as a sculpture. The wall is the barrier between the garden and the sidewalk near the water. This barrier is a spatial element. Michel François uses this spatiality, using both sides of the wall and combining this with the school's wishes. The school asked for a representation of their values as an educational institution. These values are put as 'an opening to society'. Michel François represents this literally by making holes in the wall. These holes give a view, a transparency that doesn't kill the protecting function of the wall. This way of working is typical for Michel François. The wall is now illustrative material, which he changes in a very logical way: a visible answer to the question. By using the materials in situ, the work of art fits in very easily in the surroundings, as if it had always been like this. The material that was cut out of the wall was re-used to create benches in the garden at the wall. In this way, an extra image and an extra function are created. At the other side of the wall, the holes create a play of light on the water that can be augmented by light at the other side of the wall.
Michel François was born in 1956 at Sint-Truiden and lives and works in Brussels. Since the beginning of his career he makes pictures, objects and installations that show the relation between object, body and reality in a poetic and ambiguous way. With simple, yet well built up concepts, his work brings into theme the way in which we see daily reality around us. Michel François became internationally acknowledged after his participation at Documenta IX 1992, the Biennale Sao Paulo 1996 and the Biennale Venice 1999.