In love with violence: the anatomy lesson of Francis Bacon
Journal/Book: Psyche Z Psychoanal Anwend. 2000; 54: Rotebuhlstrasse 77, D-7004 9 Stuttgart 1, Germany. Klett-Cotta Verlag. 1-27.
Abstract: In love with violence: the anatomy lesson of Francis Bacon. - Francis Bacon has been celebrated by art critics as a master of violence representation, a reputation incessantly cultivated by the painter himself. The subject of violence plays such a paramount role both in his work as well as in its reception that it merits a closer consideration. Taking the formal aspects of his paintings as a point of departure the painter's instruments serving the pictorial transformation of violence are examined. While representational goals remain invariable throughout Bacon's work a consequential alteration within the means of representation can be observed. The significance of this transition is explored with respect to Bacon's project, and its instinctual and economic determinants are investigated in the context of Michel de M'Uzan's concepts on the nature of cruelty. It becomes evident that this unceasing display of violence is neither intended as a contribution to social criticism which most of his critics would like to believe, nor does it represent a playful exercise but an intensely serious enterprise characterised by a degree of inevitability and urgency which can hardly be overlooked. The concluding observations thus refer to the function of violence in Bacon's work.
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