Saturday, May 30, 2009

Francis Bacon's Visual Archive

Fascinating article by Richard Cork in the June-July-August issue of Bookforum, "Primordial Muse," about the "extraordinary accumulation of found images festooning every available surface" of the intensely private and enigmatic painter's studio. Cork is reviewing Francis Bacon: Incunabula, by Martin Harrison & Rebecca Daniels (Thames & Hudson, 2008).

After Bacon's death in 1992, archaeologists surveyed the materials item by item before the entire studio was moved to the Dublin City Gallery where excavations are now ongoing to understand how the random juxtaposition of the images may have influenced Bacon's work. Gallery director Barbara Dawson refers to the topography of newspaper clippings, photos of soldiers and athletes, images torn from medical textbooks, etc. as a "surrealist 'exquisite corpse' connection between objects."

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