Monday, December 04, 2006

Francis Bacon is the guy!

After I made "The Abuse" with a picture of a seriously injured girl found in the web I couldn’t avoid thinking about Francis Bacon and his unpleasant images of corrupt, violent and disgusting humanity. Bacon deliberately subverted artistic conventions to show "the evils of man, rather than the virtues of Christ" and caused repulse with his nightmarish imagery of half-human, half-animal creatures. "Visitors were brought up short," wrote the critic John Russell, "by images so unrelieved awful that the mind shut with a snap at the sight of them".

Typical of his paintings in the 1950s were his Screaming Popes, a series of pictures based on Velázquez's serene portrait of Pope Innocent X, but distorted into images of hysterical fear and alienation.
The men I painted were all in extreme situations, and the scream is a transcription of their pain.
Some of his figures were shown alongside sides of raw meat. Many appear to be enclosed in glass boxes, suggesting isolation and despair.
Ham, pigs, tongues, sides of beef seen in the butcher’s window, all that death, I find it very beautiful. And it’s all for sale—how unbelievably surrealistic!

Critics and the public alike admired his ability to use oils with a sumptuous richness to express images of horror or degradation.
Flesh and meat are life! If I paint red meat as I paint bodies it is just because I find it very beautiful.

In his paintings the human face and body are subjected to extremes of contortion and distortion.
My painting is not violent; it’s life that is violent. Even within the most beautiful landscape, in the trees, under the leaves the insects are eating each other; violence is a part of life.

The paint is used to smudge and twist the subjects into formless, slug-like creatures of dark and horror fantasy.

Painting can be as violent as fucking, like an orgasm or an ejaculation. The result is often disappointing, but the process is highly exciting.
Heavy drinker and gambler, Bacon’s personal life was dissolute.
I have no moral lesson to preach, nor any advice to give.

He was also homosexual and lived extremely hard core experiences at his "sex-haunting expeditions" on the streets of London and Paris.
I have been lucky enough to be able to live on my obsession. This is my only success.

Despite his paintings race up to huge prices he cared hardly at all for material possessions:

I want to die as I was born: with nothing.
I saw a documentary about his techniques and I must say that his studio was a real "horror’s chamber", so dirty, poor, dark and rotten it was.

When I paint I am ageless, I just have the pleasure or the difficulty of painting.

Well, today I woke up praying for Bacon to get more of him and on the same direction.

You could say that I have no inspiration, that I only need to paint.
And also I must praise Mark Townsend for his extraordinary invention: Sprite!

With Sprite artists have a new dimension opened for the most vivid experiences of visuality on fractals.

The creative process is a cocktail of instinct, skill, culture and a highly creative feverishness. It is not like a drug; it is a particular state when everything happens very quickly, a mixture of consciousness and unconsciousness, of fear and pleasure; it’s a little like making love, the physical act of love.


Blogger M.Spiegel said...

Why Sprite and not BringItIn? Or it's just that Sprite is easier to use?

Nowadays that second link would be titled "Benedict on a Good Day." It gets harder and harder to be controversial....

12/05/2006 6:31 PM

Blogger cruelanimal said...

I think, on some level, we need someone like him to force us to look things we might be more comfortable pretending don't exist. Art often results from a new way of seeing -- even if the new insights are more lacerating than soothing.

I may not enjoy some of the visions of filmmakers like David Lynch or David Cronenberg, but I admire their courage to question conventions.

And I may not agree with Baudelaire that love is like carrion or that I'm a hypocrite for reading his poetry, but I'll certainly mull his accusations over. I won't turn away.

That's why Bacon is the guy. He won't let you turn away.

Hey. Cool image, too.

12/09/2006 1:41 PM


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