Francis Bacon (1909-1992) at Tate Britain heralds the artists centenary in 2009.It is the first retrospective since 1985, enabling a re-assessment of his work, although the exhibitions in Edinburgh, Francis Bacon: Portraits and Heads (2005) and Norwich, Francis Bacon in the 1950s (2006) at the Sainsbury Centre have been significant.It is accompanied by an excellent, scholarly catalogue; edited by Matthew Gale and Chris Stephens; with essays by Martin Harrison, David Alan Mellor, Simon Ofield, Gary Tinterow and Victoria Walsh.Widely regarded as one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century, Francis Bacon can also be seen as one of the most powerful and searing commentators of the human condition in Britain since the Second World War, expressing unflinching images of sexuality, violence and isolation. Bacons philosophy as an atheist is explored: man in a godless world is presented as simply another animal, subject to the same natural urges of violence, lust and fear. The loss of faith in humanity in the late 1940s was such that the human image in art became increasingly difficult to portray.The present exhibition, which makes a powerful impact on the viewer, comprises 65 paintings and 13 major triptychs.It is the most comprehensive exhibition to date, which examines the artists sources, processes and thoughts.Bacon met Giacometti, though, and they struck up quite a lively friendship. But I consulted on it a bit and was able to see some of the excavated material - notes to himself, descriptions of dreams, photographs.
He did all kinds of things I had never done and had no interest in doing but he impressed me by the way he lived and the way he painted. A: I'd met a literary agent, and when Bacon died, she was on the phone with me immediately. He'd told me all these things over the years and I'd noted them down.
But I know if I had, that I would have had serious misgivings about what I saw. There is a fascinating attempt called Love Is the Devil.
I know that there are letters that will one day surface and give more information. The actors were brilliant, but it just didn't capture the feel of the man.
as though he was tapping into something he didn't understand himself. So in a sense lack of self-knowledge was an advantage at that point.
The content of the painting, the pain and suffering of it, remain an enigma for me.
I went through and introduced many things, such as his relationship with and debt to Picasso's work, because I've gotten more interested in Picasso recently.