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HAPPENINGText: Ilaria Peretti

The exhibition, as the title “Bacon en toutes lettres” (Books and Painting) suggests, is built around the relation between the artist and his literature sources. Six authors in particular, who share the same realist and a-moralistic vision of the world, and a conception of art freed from all idealism, have been selected to create a dialogue with the works of art displayed: Aeschylus, Nietzsche, T. S. Eliot, Joseph Conrad, George Bataille and Michel Leiris. Aeschylus and Conrad, inspire his a tragic and disenchanted conception of the history of the world and its movement. The Oresteia of Aeschylus for example, inspires his triptychs and the Furies become an allegory of his guilt towards the death of his companion George Dyer.

View of the exhibition Francis Bacon, Study for a bullfight n° 2, 1969

The bright spaces of the exhibition alternate with smaller and dimly lit rooms, in which the public can listen to some excerpt of the books coming directly from the personal library of Bacon. This installation helps the visitor to understand better the references of the artist in his painting, even if the lack of explanation’s panels can be disorienting for a not experienced visitor. Fortunately, a series of podcasts created by the curator himself, are downloadable free, and definitely help the visitor to understand the curatorial proposal as well as the content of the exhibition.

Finally, I would say that the exhibition gives an interesting overview of the strong influence of literature in the creation of Bacon’s paintings. Furthermore, it put the emphasis on the important question of displaying books in a museum exhibition. Definitely worth a visit!

Bacon en toutes lettres
Date: September 11th, 2019 – January 20th, 2020
Opening hours: 11:00 – 22:00 (exhibition areas close at 21:00) 
Closed on Tuesday
Place: Centre Pompidou, Paris
Address: Place Georges Pompidou

Text: Ilaria Peretti

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