Bacon's Position

Man. "I think that man now realizes that he is an accident, that he is a completely futile being, that he has to play out the game without reason."[1]

Image. An "image is a kind of tightrope walk between what is called figurative painting and abstraction. It will go right out from abstraction but will really have nothing to do with it. It's an attempt to bring the figurative thing up onto the nervous system more violently and more poignantly."[1]

Abbreviation. "In the complicated stage in which painting is now, the moment there are several figures - at any rate several figures on the same canvas - the story begins to be elaborated. And the moment the story is elaborated, the boredom sets in; the story talks louder than the paint. This is because we are actually in very primitive times once again, and we haven't been able to cancel out the story-telling between one image and another."[1]

Art as Game. "You see, all art has now become completely a game by which man distracts himself; and you may say it has always been like that, but now it's entirely a game. What is fascinating actually is, that it's going to become much more difficult for the artist, because he must really deepen the game to become any good at all."[1]

Illustration and Art. "An illustrational form tells you through the intelligence immediately what the form is about, whereas a non-illustrational form works first upon sensation and then slowly leaks back into the fact."

Picasso. "Picasso was the first person to produce figurative paintings which overturned the rules of appearance; he suggested appearance without using the usual codes, without respecting the representational truth of form, but using a breath of irrationality instead, to make representation stronger and more direct; so that form could pass directly from the eye to the stomach without going through the brain."

Sources of Inspiration. "Images [...] help me find and realise ideas. I look at hundreds of very different, contrasting images."

Happiness. "Before I start painting I have a slightly ambiguous feeling: happiness is a special excitement because unhappiness is always possible a moment later."

Creation. "The creative process is a cocktail of instinct, skill, culture and a highly creative feverishness. It is not like a drug; it is a particular state when everything happens very quickly, a mixture of consciousness and unconsciousness, of fear and pleasure; it’s a little like making love, the physical act of love."

Organic beauty. "Flesh and meat are life! If I paint red meat as I paint bodies it is just because I find it very beautiful."

Scream. "We are born with a scream. We come into life with a scream."

Violence. "My painting is not violent. It’s life that is violent."

Autobiographical art. "My painting is a representation of life, my own life above all, which has been very difficult. So perhaps my painting is very violent, but this is natural to me."

Morals. "I have no moral lesson to preach, nor any advice to give."

Being macabre. "Cuando se es fiel a la vida, se es inevitablemente macabro porque finalmente se nace para morir."[3]

Art as Private Matter. "I paint for myself. I don’t know how to do anything else, anyway."

Mystery. "The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery."[2]

Talent. "I don’t think people are born artists; I think it comes from a mixture of your surroundings, the people you meet, and luck."

Artistic Freedom. "All artists are vain, they long to be recognised and to leave something to posterity. They want to be loved, and at the same time they want to be free. But nobody is free."

Success. "I have been lucky enough to be able to live on my obsession. This is my only success."

Sources and references
1. Francis Bacon, interviewed by David Sylvester, 1962
2. The painter, quoting his Renaissance namesake (Sir Francis Bacon, 1561-1626). See Michael Jeffery (Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia), speech supporting the Biennale of Sydney, 6.6.2006
3. "Un homenajeado y cotizado Bacon cumpliría mañana cien años," EPA, 27.10.2009, http://www.google.com/hostednews/epa/article/ALeqM5jyBXe1B1iZwCONka84k26o3WqRrA

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