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“Destroy, destroy”, chants the voice-over in Sharits' flicker film T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G that opens François Miron's film essay about avant-garde filmmaker Paul Sharits in a powerful way. But beyond autodestruction, a kind of painful beauty is conveyed, the leitmotif in Miron's intelligent linking of Sharits' life and work.
It is to Miron's credit that he manages to free one of the central protagonists of Expanded Cinema from the stigma of overly cerebral niche art. Miron's film allows us rather to rediscover Sharits as a groundbreaking visual researcher of the fundamental, whose work springs from his own endangered life, out of a deep desire for beauty, meaning and order.
For many of those whom Miron invites to have a say, Sharits' universe was a quasi-religious revelation made of light, colour and texture. Miron enables this experience and opens up fascinating insights into Sharits' “film workshop”. With the possibilities of digital image design, he renders visible the ideas behind the films and the process of their physical implementation. The abundance of drawings, plans, sketches and notes that Miron could draw upon thereby becomes attributed to the same expression of Sharits' artistic strategies that put him into a larger art-historical context beyond the Structural film. Miron shows the connections to Pop Art, Minimalism, Fluxus – but also to Russian and European avant-garde of the early 20th century.
François Miron began making films in 1982, working exclusively with emulsion (as in film, not video). The body of his early work consists of several short experimental films, all created using the powerful film image manipulation technique of optical printing, which he mastered. In 1990, he received an MFA in filmmaking from The School of The Art Institute Of Chicago where he went on a full merit scholarship. Since 1993 he has been teaching optical printing, cinematography, filmmaking, and technical aspects of films at the Mel Hoppenheim School Of Cinema in Montreal. In 2007 he completed production on The 4th Life, a 35mm. feature film project written with James Galwey. In 2008, he won a Juno Award for his photographic work for the cover of Arcade Fire's album Neon Bible, which was extracted from images that he shot in 16mm B/W and colour reversal film. The same year he won the Prix a la creation artistique from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec for his abstract dance film Hymn to Pan.