Bacon

3 05 2010

The reliably enjoyable This Recording has posted an excerpt from David Sylvester’s interviews with Francis Bacon (pictured above with William S. Burroughs). Fascinating read.

“One of the reasons why I don’t like abstract painting, or why it doesn’t interest me, is that I think painting is a duality, and that abstract painting is an entirely aesthetic thing. It always remains on one level. It is only really interested in the beauty of its patterns or its shapes. We know that most people, especially artists, have areas of undisciplined emotion, and I think that abstract artists believe that in these marks that they’re making they are catching all these sorts of emotions.

But I think caught in that way they are too weak to convey anything. I think that great art is deeply ordered. Even if within the order there may be enormously instinctive and accidental things, nevertheless I think that they come out of a desire for ordering and for returning fact onto the nervous system in a more violent way. Why, after all the great artists, do people ever try to do anything again? Only because, from generation to generation, through what the great artists have done, the instincts change. And, as the instincts change, so there comes a renewal of the feeling of how can I remake this thing once again more clearly, more exactly, more violently.

You see, I believe that art is recording; I think it’s reporting. And I think that in abstract art, as there’s no report, there’s nothing other than the aesthetic of the painter and his few sensations. There’s never any tension in it.”
—Francis Bacon

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