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December 6, 2008

(TLS) That so many of Bacon’s motifs derived, in complex, vigilant ways from photography and film is entirely consistent with his acute awareness that these new art forms had rendered representation in painting obsolete, and with his horror of mere “illustration”. This was not to say that painting should not deal in “fact”: just that fact comprehended more than what is “seen naturally”. “One wants a thing to be as factual as possible and at the same time as deeply suggestive or deeply unlocking of areas of sensation other than simple illustration of the object”, as Bacon put it to David Sylvester. He was also one of the most literary of painters, an admirer of Ulysses, an avid reader of poetry and drama who saw that the Oresteia and T. S. Eliot’s Sweeney Agonistes were blood relations, who liked to quote lines from both yet who repeatedly and sometimes fiercely repudiated attempts to read “a story” into his own work. (Read full article.)

6 Comments leave one →
  1. December 11, 2008 5:15 pm

    ah Bacon. those David Sylvester interviews are one of the most intriguing books on art that i’ve come across so far in my young life…and what an interesting blog you have. so many things that i like too.

  2. December 11, 2008 8:53 pm

    thank you for the kind words Antonia.

    and The Brutality of Fact–a marvelous collection of interviews indeed! in fact, just for you, i shall post some vids of the two chatting in Bacon’s studio.

  3. December 12, 2008 3:07 am

    thank you. the second one where he talks about his ideas on accident i like best. i know the ubu one and there is also this other longer bbc documentary which is great too. i always thought it is far more impressive to see him speaking (with this his very conviction and acute awareness of what he is doing) than reading the stuff.

  4. December 12, 2008 8:41 am

    my pleasure. over the years i’ve seen the bbc doc and several others as well. i even enjoyed Love is the Devil, even though i feel they limited the story to his relationship with George Dyer (there are so few good artist biopics) when there are so many other aspects to his life that i feel are more interesting and relevant.

    that said i find myself somewhat conflicted about Bacon’s actual paintings. there is a solid body of work that is quite impressive, but then i find things become too illustrationist (i’ve made up a word there as “illustrative” isn’t right at all). he also suffers from his own virtuosity. the bulk of the portraits especially i find quite trite. although the triptych that recently sold at auction was very impressive.

  5. December 13, 2008 4:42 pm

    yah i have Love is the Devil somewhere here on videotape too, but not yet seen it. re other aspects in his life, i thought the Peppiatt biography is not too bad, quite balanced. i am conflicted about his paintings too, in the sense that he is one of the few artists of whom i prefer what they say on art (Sylvester interviews etc) than their actual stuff. some images i like but some say nothing at all to me. maybe time will unlock those for me one day.

  6. tomaszharacz permalink
    August 13, 2010 2:14 pm

    Great, really enjoyed this

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