Before Proof closes on February 5, Irina Kulik takes a closer look at the exhibition’s co-curator and participator Robert Longo, linking his works to the painterly manner of contemporary French artist Jacques Monory.
Jacques Monory (b. 1934) is a French artist of the “new wave” generation of the 1960s, whose representatives favored figuration over abstraction, turning painting back to narration. Monory’s artworks’ plots, style and other formal aspects make evident references to gangster movies and film noir, which were extremely trendy at the time. Resembling blown up film stills, his large-scale canvases reconstruct some of the most popular visual archetypes of mass culture, often depicting death, violence, sex and accidents. Many of them are executed predominantly in blue, with yellow or pink colors sometimes added to his recognizable palette. Technically and thematically, Monory’s pieces allude to American pop art, and Andy Warhol’s silkscreen prints in particular. Like Warhol, Monory is also known as actor and director of short films.
Robert Longo (b. 1953) is a contemporary American artist, born and based in New York. One of the most notable representatives of the so-called “pictures generation”, his main subject matter is not the reality but images and representation as such, including photographs and illustrations taken from the media, as well as TV and film stills. Longo’s signature works are large-scale charcoal drawings on paper, executed in black and white and based on the aforementioned found sources. He is also famous for his video works, including music videos he made for a number of pop and rock bands (New Order, R.E.M., and Megadeth, among others). In 2016, together with Garage Chief Curator Kate Fowle, he co-curated Proof—an exhibition which showcased his own graphic and video works along with Francisco Goya’s etchings and film stills and drawings of Sergei Eisenstein, both artists having been a longstanding inspiration for Longo. The recurring motif of the show is the idea of “archetypal” representation that transcends time, cultures and geography.