Malcolm Le Grice: In the Cinema

The English filmmaker Malcolm Le Grice is known for an extensive and influential filmography of single- and multiple-projection films and performed cinema dating to the mid-1960s . His practical and theoretical contributions to British avant-garde film are major, both through his role in forming the London Filmmaker’s Co-op and through his critical writing in books such as “Abstract Film and Beyond” (1977).  He was also a pioneering practitioner of computer-generated moving images, creating such work as early as 1970. Le Grice attends Media City to present a retrospective screening of four films and four more recent video works, including a performance of Principles of Cinematography (1973), not presented in more than 40 years.

Principles of Cinematography

Format: 16mm with performed sound
Duration: 6 min
Year: 1973

A reading about the production of acetate motion picture film from Leslie J. Wheeler’s book Principles of Cinematography, in front of a screen on which clear leader is projected. A context for film’s materiality.

Blind White Duration

Format: 16mm
Duration: 10 min
Year: 1968

Firstly it is a film concerned with constructing an experience out of limited perceptions. The viewer is introduced to a limited range of images in short, soft fade-ins and -outs or quick flashes. Secondly it is concerned with the light of the projector — the white screen and the white image which emerges out of it. Thirdly it is concerned with repeats and near-repeats in different sequences and superimpositions. Fourthly, with the role of the viewer as a positive constructor of his or her own experience of the images. And fifthly with the use of unexceptional images which are not contrived in a studio or dramatic sense.

Berlin Horse

Format: 16mm
Duration: 9 min
Year: 1970

An attempt to deal with some of the paradoxes of the relationships of the “real” time which exists when the film was being shot and the “real” time which exists when the film is being screened, and how this can be modulated by technical manipulation of the images and sequences. Sound by Brian Eno.

Academic Still Life

Format: 16mm
Duration: 6 min
Year: 1976

In much the same way as a Cezanne painting records within its image the problem of stabilizing a perception and the way in which shifts in viewpoint modify the spatial experience, the film uses time lapse and time exposure to seek a filmic equivalent for this aesthetic.

Even a Cyclops Pays the Ferryman

Format: video
Duration: 17 min
Year: 1998

An allegory for the passage from being alive to being dead, the continuing life of others beyond, the reconstruction of physical energies from physical decay. The cyclops is the one-eyed father, the one-eyed king in the land of the blind, the single lens of the camera, three screens beyond stereoscopy.


Format: video
Duration: 1 min
Year: 2010

Visiting a small back-street café in Prague for sausage and wine led to trying absinthe for the first time – shades of Manet, Degas and Picasso.

Oona Mosna


Format: video
Duration: 3 min
Year: 2013

An impromptu portrait of Jonas Mekas shot at the Serpentine Gallery, London on the occasion of a celebration of his 90th birthday. All made in a single take whilst Mekas videos Mike Figgis playing flugelhorn and Rosey Chan plays piano.

Joseph’s Newer Coat

Format: video
Duration: 17 min
Year: 1998

Entirely made from colour fields recopied, re-videoed and superimposed. It explores interference rhythms produced by a strobing rewind of tape, the full screen and screen within screen within screen. The music was produced in very close collaboration with Stewart Louis de Cannonville and is as important to the work as the visual experience.

Malcolm Le Grice (Plymouth, England 1940). Studies at Slade School of Art, London. He founded the London Filmmakers’ Co-op workshop in the late 1960s and taught film to fine art students at Central Saint Martins and Goldsmith’s College, London. He has made more than seventy films, cinema performances, videos and media installation works since 1965, often presented in alternative single or multiple projection variations. His work has been screened at the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Louvre Museum (Paris), the Tate Modern and Tate Britain (London) and exhibited at major exhibitions including Documenta 6 (Kassel) and the Paris Bienniale. His work is in permanent collections including the Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), the German Cinematheque Archive (Berlin) and the Royal Belgian Film Archive (Brussels). He is the author of Abstract Film and Beyond (1977) and Experimental Cinema in the Digital Age (BFI, 2001). He is a Professor Emeritus of the University of the Arts London, where he is a collaborating director with David Curtis of the British Artists Film and Video Study Collection. Earlier in 2015, Les Presses du réel published an extensive book on his works, Le Temps des images.