A side of Bacon

10 Dec

There’s been a lot of hype surrounding the newest exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW, Francis Bacon: Five Decades. Considered by many to be the best painter of the 20th Century, this beautifully designed exhibition spanning Bacon’s life’s work is intricate, powerful and moving. Bacon’s ideas on painting, portraiture and the ordering of chaos are thought-provoking to say the least, and his distorted artworks provide a searching glimpse into the souls of his sitters, rather than simply their outer appearance (I mean, wow!). Influences of Picasso haunt his work, as do his tragic experiences and tormented mind.

If you’re in Sydney, you should really go. We weren’t allowed photos in the actual exhibition (sorry), so you have to see for yourself. Even though not all of us liked his work, we all agreed there was something to be gained in seeing it: “Bacon said that the idea was to ‘bring reality as violently as possible onto the nervous system of the viewer’ and he’s talking about the violence of the paint, the gesture.” (Curator Anthony Bond of ANGNSW). Whatever you think, you’ll need either a large dose of caffeine or some hard, cold liquor when you get to the end.

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“I always think of myself not so much as a painter but as a medium for accident and chance” – Bacon

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“The artist may be able to… unlock the valves of feeling and therefore return the onlooker to life more violently” – Bacon  DSC_0522

“The sitter is someone of flesh and blood and what has to be caught is their emanation” – Bacon



Whether you like him or not, Bacon achieves what only good artists can: his works force us to question “now, what on earth does this all mean?”


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