Francis Bacon: Critical and Theoretical Perspectives

Francis Bacon: Critical and Theoretical Perspectives

Rina Arya

Language: English

Pages: 207

ISBN: 3034308892

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


This collection of essays on Francis Bacon (1909-1992) pays tribute to the legacy, influence and power of his art. The volume widens the relevance of Bacon in the twenty-first century and looks at new ways of thinking about or reframing him. The contributors consider the interdisciplinary scope of Bacon’s work, which addresses issues in architecture, continental philosophy, critical theory, gender studies and the sociology of the body, among others. Bacon’s work is also considered in relation to other artists, philosophers and writers who share similar concerns. The innovation of the volume lies in this move away from both an art historical framework and a focus on the artist’s biographical details, in order to concentrate on new perspectives, such as how current scholars in different disciplines consider Bacon, what his relevance is to a contemporary audience, and the wider themes and issues that are raised by his work.

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animalistic impulses to make sense of meaninglessness. Bacon brings out the animal-in-the-human by demonstrating humans’ similarities to animals. Instead of conceiving of  the human in terms of qualities such as rationality and intellect, Bacon reduces the human to the same plane as the animal. He accomplishes this in various ways – the encasing of  the figure in a cage-like contraption, and by drawing attention to the regions of animality, namely the orifices, such as the mouth and the anus.

Translated by R. J. Hollingdale. London: Penguin Books. Nietzsche, F., 2002 [1886]. Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of  the Future, ed. R-P. Horstmann. Translated by J. Norman. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Peppiatt, M., 1997. Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma. London: Phoenix. Peppiatt, M., 1999. Three interviews with Francis Bacon. In: D. Farr, Francis Bacon: A Retrospective, Yale Center for British Art, ed. New York: Abrams in association with the Trust for Museum

catalogue number RM98 NF154 in the studio is a neat trick. The catalogue entry speculates that the leaf may have been left in the studio by John Edwards or Brian Clarke. The presence of  the page invites the question as to how greatly the contents of  the studio were tampered with after the artist’s death. The scene of  his art making was obviously not secured early enough to prevent contamination of  the kind just described. It has therefore been compromised as a source of evidence. Wrestling

accident are deployed precisely to escape the vestiges of  historical tradition, orthodox representation and cliché in painting. For this reason I would argue that it is entirely legitimate for Deleuze to abstract his own hypotheses about Bacon from a normative art historical approach, and pursue a more daring, inventive and original analysis of  the largely misunderstood realm of  Bacon’s particular technical harnessing of automatism in his art. Whilst this does not excuse any obvious historical

they signify a choice which evacuates intentionally determined probabilities from the space of  the canvas. Deleuze (2004: 93–4) makes this subtle but important point when he writes: These marks are accidental, ‘by chance’; but clearly the same word, ‘chance’, no longer designates probabilities, but now designates a type of choice or action without probability. These marks can be called ‘non-representative’ precisely because they depend Deleuze’s Bacon: Automatism and the Pictorial Fact 183

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