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Something You Should See… Screens at Space Studios


Jacques Monory: the painter who developed his style after systematically destroying all of his early work in pointed rejection of his education at the École de Paris. Jean-François Lyotard: the philosopher who developed pivotal changes in thought across several different disciplines after systematically breaking down traditional notions of reason and knowledge. What would happen if these postmodern power houses found themselves together? In 1982, they did, and the results are documented in film Instantanés et Cinéma. Space Studios is offering the rare opportunity to watch the conversation between the philosopher and the painter in their screening of the (newly translated) film at their space in Bethnal Green.

Monory’s direct reference to contemporary popular culture in his painting has had some critics align his 1960s work with Pop art of the period. But Monory produces a more pensive and sombre portrait of the modern world than that of his American contemporaries. Juxtaposing images from advertisements, magazines and newspapers, Monory creates cinematic, dreamlike paintings. Each is bathed in his distinctive Monorychrome filter of yellow, magenta or his signature Monorian blue.


Monory’s unexplained and incomplete narratives suggest that the artist has no intention of uniting his viewers in a shared understanding of the paintings’ content. He creates a narrative climate, but then he stops, and it’s up to us to create our own reality from his ambiguous paintings. No singular truth or meaning to be found? Oh hey Lyotard, the postmodernist theorist who defined contemporary culture by ‘incredulity towards metanarratives’. Lyotard saw something in the paintings of Monory that chimed with his own thinking and sent a letter across the French capital to tell him so. The film’s production follows the exchange of a series of letters between the two.

 Lyotard may now have had to make new celebrity friends in Paris’s Père Lachaise cemetery but Monory is still practicing artist. Space will be showing some of his film work and photography alongside the filmed conversation. (Words: Florence Ritter) 

 On until June 2nd.  For more info, visit:

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