Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bacon May Be Dead, But He's Still Controversial

When doing a little research on Bacon, I found this article from a 2005 issue of The Guardian.  I think it states fairly well what Bacon's particular artistic witness was all about.

I do not endorse Bacon's point of view, any more than I would endorse Picasso's.  I think Bacon's idea of chewing up his lovers with his brush in his erotic passion is just as reprehensible as Picasso doing the same to his mistresses.  But, it is great art, and it is great because it is authentic, a frank expression of very real passions that are common to everyone.  Thank God for self control and moral constraint (no irony intended).

What I so admire about Bacon is his testimony that these same brutal passions that drive criminal impulses also drive so much of history.  Beneath the complex ideologies and the simple slogans is a cold carnivorous will to do harm.

My argument with Bacon is his hopelessness and his frequent lapses into nihilism.  So, it's all meaningless and humanity is only a pile of meat.  How is that different from the outlook of most bankers, or those ambitious politicians who are the objects of Bacon's scorn ?

I would never do to the human form what Picasso and Bacon do to it.  I could never tear it apart as well as either of those artists.  Like Max Beckmann, I think it is unseemly to tear apart the human form in an age in which so many real bodies of real people are routinely torn apart by both criminal passion and political ideology.
I also believe that how we show the human image says a lot about what we really think about humanity whether that image is on a street sign, an advertisement, or in a work of art.

2 comments:

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

How I agree!

Leonardo Ricardo said...

Revealing dimensions, points of observation, narratives...that´s different than brutal carnage...I recently, last year, painted a San Miguel, The Archangel...he was my second and a smaller format than the first...how I was tempted, just thinking mind you, about painting in some folks I thought he might smite as evil...well, I didn´t (thought it wasn´t up to me to decide that one) but the San Miguel when finished was really vicious looking and kind of scared me (and others)...I didn´t change a thing and the couple that commissioned it loved it (or at least said they did)...my point is that the POWER against perceived evil revealed itself in my work even when I was holding back from being obvious...I was obvious, it was obvious.

Thanks for the this, it helped me:

¨What I so admire about Bacon is his testimony that these same brutal passions that drive criminal impulses also drive so much of history. Beneath the complex ideologies and the simple slogans is a cold carnivorous will to do harm.¨ Counterlight