John Deakin’s photograph of George Dyer in the Reece Mews Studio, ca. 1964, Dublin City Gallery the Hugh Lane (Ima</a srcset=
John Deakin’s photograph of George Dyer in the Reece Mews Studio, ca. 1964, Dublin City Gallery the Hugh Lane (Image courtesy Art Gallery of NSW)

 

In February of this year I travelled to Sydney for what really was a rather Arty weekend. I saw the Anish Kapoor show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Circular Quay (very good … so good I took the kids up to see it a couple of weeks ago) … I saw Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry performing at the Sydney Opera House in their legendary duo (+ band) Dead Can Dance which brought me to tears on more than one occasion with it’s power and sheer beauty.

I also went to see the Francis Bacon show at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Now let’s get this out there first … I’m not a huge fan of Francis Bacon … none of his works feature near the top of any of my lists of favourite art but I do respect his work. I find it uncomfortable and violent, visceral and gutsy. I like that I feel something from his art even if it makes me uncomfortable. There’s a certain violence in his work … it’s been said that he was ismply repsonding to the violence and opression he saw and felt around him. I think he was brave or perhaps he just didn’t care … I respect that he kept going and going … thoroughly obsessed by his work and not caring whether it was liked or not. I think he did care and the angst in his pictures is, to me a demonstration of just how deeply he felt.

There was a large collection of his paintings and sketches, over 50 in all, along with books and and detritus from his studio. Then there were the photographs… they were what affected me the most. The photos were placed in simple frames that were deep enough to allow the crumpled prints to breathe. The photos were scrunched and ripped, taped back together, creased and stained, torn … I imagined them cried over … the tears falling onto them after the passing of his lover, I imagined them being scrunched into a ball and thrown in anger after an argument, unfolded and pressed flat by hands, left under whatever else occupied the artist’s mind at the time… they had patina.

In short: they were loved

At a time when our culture is obsessed by perfection, the smooth and the wrinkle free, these photographs spoke of life and how it is messy and sticky and visceral and at times violent. I think we forget that or it somehow suits us to forget that. I realised I had been looking at them a long time transfixed by these thoughts and resolved to write them down … to blog them … I forgot – distracted by whatever else was going on in my life … the new and shiny smooth wrinkle free objects of my attention.

I said I’m not a huge fan of Francis Bacon but re-redading my post I think just might be.

Are you moved by art? … I think some of you might be…

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