Saturday, 25 April 2015

Francis Bacon

It was a rather slow day at work yesterday so I managed to steal an hour to watch a South Bank Show documentary from 1985 devoted to painter Francis Bacon. Sky Arts showed an abbreviated 25min version of this some months ago, but fortunately the entire 55min programme has been preserved at the ever essential Ubu Web film archive. The documentary finds Bacon in fine form - interviewed by Melvyn Bragg, Bacon is chatty, lucid, articulate (even after too much wine), and open and frank about his life, his homosexuality, his fondness for the drink (at one point the programme relocates to a boisterous Soho drinking den) and his great love of gambling. Bacon’s honesty when it comes to his work - his successes and failures - extends to other painters work, and in one amusing moment he gives his impressions of Jackson Pollack (“To me they look like bits of old laces”) and Mark Rothko (“They’re the most dreary paintings that have ever been made”). Better still, the programme serves as an excellent primer on Bacon's work, his theme of the mutability of flesh and his desire to remake/remodel the human form which renders the figures in his paintings unmade, unfinished, de-evolved, nightmarish. This excellent documentary can be viewed here


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