Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Francis Bacon and the Masters

Bacon and Picasso

Finishing on the 26th July is 'Francis Bacon and the Masters'. If you can get down to the Sainsbury Centre in Norwich before then do so, it's one of those rare exhibitions that can move you and make you realise what heights of emotional intensity artists can achieve. It also recognises the fact that artists take their inspiration from 'giants' of the past, and that the human condition remains the same even though times change and technology moves on. 

In particular this is chance to see Francis Bacon's underdrawing. He left a few paintings unfinished on his death and they are exhibited here for the first time. You can clearly see how his initial drawing shapes his painting ideas. The artist Peter Welz was inspired by one of those unfinished canvases to develop a work that in some ways attempts to 'finish' what Bacon started. Perhaps this is a deeper metaphor about the plight of all artists. They are all trying to 'finish' what others artists started. 

Peter Welz 'Retranslation 1: Final Unfinished Portrait (Francis Bacon)' 
Three channel video installation, drawing 3,60m x 5,50m, 2005 

Bacon's studio on his death, the unfinished drawing on the easel is the one Welz responded to with his video installation.

The fact that drawing lies at the core of both Bacon's approach to painting and Welz's approach to video making is perhaps the most important point here. As drawing students sometimes it's hard to think about how you might engage with the other disciplines. My strong belief is that drawing is fundamental to certain visualisation processes and that artists can be drawing led, and if their practice is informed by drawing, they can be seen as belonging to the drawing 'camp'. 

Find information on the Sainsbury Centre here.
Peter Welz's retranslation of Bacon can be seen here.

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