mardi 28 mai 2013

Francis Bacon

Comparatively few people of substantial means collect and hang Francis Bacon paintings in their homes. They're beautiful but too intense, too disturbing, exhibiting a "terrible beauty" that both attracts and repels.

Imagine, however, finding a venue that opens up (quite literally) the door that leads to Francis Bacon's home, studio, library and even his kitchen. Would you enter that place, knowing that you were admitting yourself into a space that only Bacon's closest friends were ever allowed to visit? Would you be afraid of finding bizarre or all too intimate objects that were supposed to be hidden, private, secret or even meant to be destroyed upon the death of the artist? Or would you be afraid of finding out that Bacon was an obvious borrower or a fake and not the inscrutable, complex, cupid-faced original that we take him to be?

Go to the Dublin City Gallery Hugh Lane to see the "prodigious mess" that was Bacon's home and studio accurately reconstructed, bare light bulbs and all. Or wander through the Bozar Centre in Brussels which is exhibiting hundreds of torn, stepped-on, painted-on magazine and personal photos, postcards and medical textbook drawings as well as the four paintings which Bacon left unfinished in his home at the time of his death. The amateur connoisseur in you will be satisfied because we now see who Bacon's influences were, how he composed his figures and laid down the paint, and we see the very strict delineation he made between work space (filled to overflowing, pack rat style) and living space (small, basic and utterly spartan). The material on show is revelatory and exhilarating.

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