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Francis Bacon:The Violence of Real

Francis Bacon:The Violence of Real
Additional Information
Author Armin Zweite
Publisher Thames & Hudson
ISBN-10 500093350
ISBN-13 9780500093351
Product Dimensions 22.5 x 29.7 cm
Pages 256
Rs. 6,100.00
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Francis Bacon:The Violence of Real


Dramatic depictions of human forms – writhing painfully, dissolving, struggling with or engulfing one another – shape the motivic repertoire of Francis Bacon (1909 – 1992), the most eminent 20th century British painter.

Everything anecdotal or narrative has been excluded in favor of a concentration on the physical presence of human flesh. Bacon scenarizes bodies which appear mutable, vulnerable, or decrepit, while simultaneously asserting themselves with an aggressive, even boastful vitality. In aesthetically heightened form (for Bacon‘s images are always suggestively beautiful), such contradictoriness is conveyed in the form of the disquieting experience of the grandeur and finitude of human existence. Bacon said: “Great art is always a way of concentrating, reinventing what is called fact, what we know of our existence ...” (Francis Bacon to Hugh Marlais Davies, 1973).

Bacon sought to rend the veil of false perceptions and ideas that continually superimposes itself on the factual. He shows us forms and human traits whose artistic appearance is as fascinating as their physical deformations are alarming. His beings – which occasionally regress to the zoomorphic level – remain for the most part isolated, moving tentatively on stage-like platforms, in empty, windowless rooms or in structures resembling cages. Bacon discovered stimuli for his agitated image world in the works of artists such as Michelangelo, Velázquez, Rembrandt, Degas and van Gogh, although he was inspired by reproductions rather than by originals. Eadweard Muybridge’s photographic sequences of human and animal locomotion, books containing medical illustrations, newspaper photographs showing current events: all provided him with impetus.

Like a kind of “mill,” Bacon reworked this flood of reproduced visual material. Only after being transformed and profoundly defamiliarized were individual subjects incorporated into his paintings. Manifesting itself in Bacon’s œuvre is an aesthetic image world that is inextricably entangled with the existentially abysmal.

The 60 exhibited works – produced between 1945 and 1991, among them 10 triptychs, and photographic material from the artist‘s studio – provide insight into an unsettling yet captivating image world. Francis Bacon envisioned the human individual as a subject deprived of any stable (masculine) identity. Here we find a self that is exposed to “invisible forces,” one rendered incapable of locating itself securely in the world. To a large extent, this accounts for the continuing actuality of Bacon‘s creative achievement.

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