Thursday, December 06, 2012

Bacon - Breakfast, Regurgitated

Checked out Five Decades of Francis Bacon at the Art Gallery NSW with my friend Ric. I'm just going to admit right now that I thought Francis Bacon was an old world explorer or philosopher.
Turns out he was the creator of a TON of creepy art you would never want to hang on your walls:
He did a lot of hybrid human/creature stuff. And I took away a few things from the exhibit.

1. His work was probably inspired by his supremely cluttered workspace which was described in curatorial terms as "disorganized". In reality, it was an unrepentant massive shitpile that probably came to life in the wee hours to look like the ungrateful dead (see above).

the artists thrives on chaos.
2. He was proud to never have gone to art school. This is because Bacon didn't want to learn about "styles" but rather invent his own. Fair enough. But he dabbled in styles imitating both Van Gogh and Picasso.

3. If you were lucky enough to sit for a portrait by Bacon, you needn't worry about sitting still.

Imagine the correspondence:

Dear Ms Rawsthorne,
Would you please come sit for a portrait? I would like to paint your infinite beauty.


Dear esteemed Mr. Bacon,
I should be delighted. I cannot WAIT to see the results of your stunning artistry. 


At the moment she was shown the results of her sitting, Ms Rawsthorne's expression was strikingly similar to the artist's interpretation of her face:
Through tears, and the nagging thought she should have combed her hair, Lady Rawsthorne imagined this image to be an expression of her soul. And she truly believed, much like Dorian Gray, that her outside beauty would never age or turn hideous. It was important for her to embrace this fate.

Dear esteemed Mr Bacon,
You have captured my beauty exquisitely! Print it, frame it, hang it in the heirloom attic!


She made it a ritual each time she steeled herself to gaze at the portrait, to recite Bacon's quote:

"I would like my pictures to look as if a human being had passed between them, like a snail leaving its trail of the human presence... as a snail leaves its slime."

1 comment:

Tony said...

Hey Jesse -
That must have been some exhibit.
I've seen a few of Bacon's actual paintings in NY, as well as in articles.
Bacon's Wikipedia bio seems to suggest that his outlook on life, art, and his cramped, chaotic studio were a result of being frequently locked in a cupboard as a child by his nanny. Childhood trauma strikes again.
Nevertheless he did maintain two long-term relationships, the first tumultuous one with a young man he caught breaking into his house. Bacon's life seems the classic story of a complex, iconoclastic genius.
The other Francis Bacon WAS a late 16th century philosopher (and diplomat) widely viewed as the originator of the modern scientific method.