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quinta-feira, 27 de novembro de 2008

Interviews (2)

David Sylvester - Most of your paintings have been of single figures or single heads, but in the new Crucifixion triptych you've done a composition with several figures. Would you like to do that more often?

Francis Bacon - I find it so difficult to do one figure that that generally seems enough. And, of course, I've got an obsession with doing the one perfect image.

DS - Which would have to be a single figure?

FB - 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.

DS - And it is true that people have been trying to find a story in the Crucifixion triptych. Is there in fact any explanation of the relationship between the figures?

FB - No.

DS - So it's the same thing as when you've painted heads or figures inside a sort of space-frame and it's been supposed that you were picturing someone imprisoned in a glass box.

FB - I use that frame to see the image — for no other reason. I know it's been interpreted as being many other things.

DS - Like when Eichmann was in his glass box and people were saying your paintings had prophesied this image.

FB - I cut down the scale of the canvas by drawing in these rectangles which concentrate the image down. Just to see it better.

DS - And it never ever had any sort of illustrative intention, not even in that painting of 1949 of a head with microphones?

FB - No, it was just to be able to see the face and the microphones more clearly. I don't think it's a satisfactory device especially; I try to use it as little as possible. But sometimes it seems necessary.

DS - And do the vertical breaks between the canvases of a triptych have the same sort of purpose as those frames within a canvas?

FB - Yes, they do. They isolate one from the other. And they cut off the story between one and the other. It helps to avoid story-telling if the figures are painted on three different canvases. Of course, so many of the greatest paintings have been done with a number of figures on a canvas, and of course every painter longs to do that. But, as the thing's in such a terribly complicated stage now, the story that is already being told between one figure and another begins to cancel out the possibilities of what can be done with the paint on its own. And this is a very great difficulty. But at any moment somebody will come along and be able to put a number of figures on a canvas.

DS - You may not want a story, but you certainly seem to want subjects with a lot of dramatic charge when you choose a theme like the Crucifixion. Can you say what impelled you to do the triptych?

FB - I've always been very moved by pictures about slaughter-houses and meat, and to me they belong very much to the whole thing of the Crucifixion. There've been extraordinary photographs which have been done of animals just being taken up before they were slaughtered; and the smell of death. We don't know, of course, but it appears by these photographs that they're so aware of what is going to happen to them, they do everything to attempt to escape. I think these pictures were very much based on that kind of thing, which to me is very, very near this whole thing of the Crucifixion. I know for religious people, for Christians, the Crucifixion has a totally different significance. But as a non-believer, it was just an act of man's behaviour, a way of behaviour to another.

David Sylvester in Interviews with Francis Bacon, 1975.

terça-feira, 25 de novembro de 2008


David Sylvester - Are you ever as moved by looking at a still life or a landscape by a great master as you are by looking at paintings of the human image? Does Cézanne still life or landscape ever move you as much as a Cézanne portrait or nude?

Francis Bacon - No, it doesn't, although I think that Cézanne's landscapes are very much better than his figures, generally. I think that there are one or two figure-paintings which are marvellous, but generally speaking I think the landscapes are better.

DS - Nevertheless, the figures say more to you?

FB - They do, yes.

DS - What is it that made you paint a number of landscapes at one time?

FB - Inability to do the figure.

DS - And did you feel that that you weren't going to do landscapes for long?

FB - I don't know that I felt that at the time. After all, one is always hoping that one will be able to do something nearer one's instinctive desire. But certainly landscapes interest me much less. I think art is an obsession with life and after all, as we are human beings, our greatest obsession is with ourselves. Then possibly with animals, and then with landscapes.

DS - You're really affirming the traditional hierarchy of subject matter by which history painting — painting of mythological and religious subjects — comes top and then portraits and then landscape and then still life.

FB - I would alter them round. I would say at the moment, as things are so difficult, that portraits come first.

DS - In fact, you've done very few paintings with several figures. Do you concentrate on the single figure because you find it more difficult?

FB - I think that the moment a number of figures become involved, you immediately come on to the story-telling aspect of the relationships between figures. And that immediately sets up a kind of narrative. I always hope to be able to make a great number of figures without a narrative.

DS - As Cézanne does in the bathers?

FB - He does.

David Sylvester in Interviews with Francis Bacon, 1975.

terça-feira, 18 de novembro de 2008

Ah! le voilà! le roi des indiscrets!

Aristide Briand montre du doigt Erich Salomon, Paris, 1931.

Le roi des indiscrets, 1928-1938 é o título da exposição de Erich Salomon apresentada pelo Jeu de Paume até 25 de Janeiro e a primeira de uma trilogia consagrada à Fotografia de entre-guerras. Erich Salomon é o pai do fotojornalismo e um dos mais importantes fotógrafos dos anos 30. Advogado, inicia a sua carreira tardiamente, aos 42 anos, e a sua ascendência burguesa e abastada — ele é filho de um banqueiro alemão — permite-lhe frequentar a alta sociedade alemã e os círculos mais fechados da política e das conferências internacionais. Rapidamente apelidado "le roi des indiscrets", Erich Salomon rejeita a tradicional fotografia de pose e consegue fotografar as celebridades e personalidades da época sem que estas tenham verdadeira consciência da sua presença. Em 1933, com o eclodir do nazismo, foge da Alemanha para a Holanda, prosseguindo a sua carreira. Mais tarde, acaba denunciado, preso e enviado para Auschwitz onde morre em 1944.
As outras duas exposições a apresentar pelo Jeu de Paume serão Les avant-gardes en France avec l'exposition Paris capitale photographique 1920-1940, a partir de 10 de Fevereiro de 2009, e Augustí Centelles, photographies 1936-1939, fotografias da Guerra Civil de Espanha, com inauguração prevista para 9 de Junho de 2009.

Réunion de stars du cinéma (Carmen Del Rio e Ernst Lubitsch ; à direita: Maurice Chevalier, Yvonne Vallée [sua mulher], Paul Kohner [produtor], Vilma Banky e Carl Laemmle). Hollywood, 1930.

Dans l’antichambre de la séance nocturne décisive de la conférence de La Haye, 1929.

Eric Salomon [autoretrato] au restaurant, à bord du Mauretania, 1929.

La tribune du public au Palais des Nations, Genève, 1928.

Vers 4 heures du matin. Peu de temps après l’installation de la ligne téléphonique transatlantique, Marlene Dietrich téléphone à sa fille restée à Berlin. Hollywood, 1930.

Lors d'une réception à l'ambassade des Pays-Bas de Londres, 1937.

sábado, 15 de novembro de 2008

Correio da Cassini

Aurora em Saturno. Ler mais aqui.

sexta-feira, 14 de novembro de 2008

Sobre o número de ouro (25)

A menção oficial mais antiga sobre símbolos lapidares da Bauhütte encontra-se num documento de 1462 que se refere à conferência de Torgau. Fala dos símbolos lapidares (Zeichen) conferidos aos oficiais em cerimónia solene e depois do período de prova e demanda.
Um documento antigo encontrado em Trèves, datado de 22 de Outubro de 1397, começa com "Hic incipiunt constitutiones artis Geometriae", donde se entende que para os construtores medievais a Geometria era de facto a ciência fundamental. Esta acta menciona igualmente os "Quatuor Coronati" como patronos das confraria de construtores medievais. De notar que os "Quatuor Coronati" são os santos Castor, Sinforiano, Claudio e Nicostrato, arquitectos marterizados por Docleciano. As corporações de construtores da Idade Média reclamam-nos como irmãos. São honrados em Roma na igreja Santi Quatro Coronati e também na igreja de Or San Michele em Florença.

quarta-feira, 12 de novembro de 2008

Sobre o número de ouro (24)

Símbolos lapidares góticos, segundo Rziha. (clique na imagem para aumentar)

terça-feira, 11 de novembro de 2008

Adeus Phoenix

Durante cinco meses a Phoenix enviou imagens magníficas. Detectou gelo sob o solo marciano. Efectuou um sem número de experiências. Mas as alterações atmosféricas em Marte com o início do Outono marciano, a falta de luz solar para recarregar as baterias, o vento, as nuvens, fazem com que a Phoenix não tenha energia suficiente para continuar a trabalhar. O último sinal foi enviado no dia 2 e ontem, os cientistas responsáveis pela Phoenix, declararam o fim da missão. A Phoenix ficará no pólo norte marciano. Entrou no reino da solidão e do esquecimento. The project team will be listening carefully during the next few weeks to hear if Phoenix revives and phones home.

Perdidos & achados: bomba nuclear

"The United States abandoned a nuclear weapon beneath the ice in northern Greenland following a crash in 1968". Os Estados Unidos perderam uma bomba nuclear debaixo do gelo no norte da Gronelândia, na sequência da queda de um dos seus bombardeiros B52 a 21 de Janeiro de 1968. Ler mais aqui.

Paris Photo 2008

Inaugura amanhã, no Carrousel du Louvre, a Paris Photo 2008, este ano com o Japão como país convidado. Obras de mais de 130 fotógrafos, 119 galerias de 19 países. Para além da feira, Paris é o epicentro da Fotografia mundial durante este mês de Novembro. Várias exposições paralelas à Paris Photo 2008 vão poder ser vistas: Lee Miller no Jeu de Paume, Henri Cartier Bresson et Walker Evans na Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, Sabine Weiss na Maison Européenne, Tokyo Stories na Artcurial. Até dia 16. Ver mais aqui.

sábado, 8 de novembro de 2008

Sobre o número de ouro (23)

Símbolos lapidares góticos, segundo Rziha. (clique na imagem para aumentar)

quinta-feira, 6 de novembro de 2008

Sobre o número de ouro (22)

Pentagrama na grande rosácea de Amiens. Estrela de cinco pontas segundo um manuscrito alemão do ciclo faustico. Cinquefolios do portal sul da Sainte-Chapelle. (clique na imagem para aumentar)

terça-feira, 4 de novembro de 2008

Cy Twombly

Até 15 de Fevereiro de 2009, o Guggenheim de Bilbau apresenta uma grande exposição retrospectiva de Cy Twombly, a mais completa realizada em Espanha, por ocasião do octagésimo aniversário do artista. Nascido em 1928, Cy Twombly é seguramente um dos mais importantes pintores vivos e influenciou decisivamente gerações de artistas da segunda metade do século XX e até aos nossos dias. Nesta retrospectiva podem ser vistas cerca de cem obras entre pintura, desenho e escultura. Formado no lendário Black Mountain College, tal como Rauschenberg, John Cage e tantos outros, Twombly desde logo se interessou pela literatura, história e cultura clássica, universos que exerceram grande influência no desenvolvimento da sua linguagem criativa.
Neste blog publicou-se entre Outubro e Novembro de 2004 cerca de 10 posts sobre Twombly com textos de Roland Barthes. A rever aqui.
E mais aqui.
E aqui. Aqui. Aqui. Aqui. Aqui. Aqui. Aqui. Aqui.

segunda-feira, 3 de novembro de 2008


“Time is the great gift of nature which keeps everything from happening at once.”

C.J. Overbeck

sábado, 1 de novembro de 2008

Sobre o número de ouro (21)

Projecções segundo a perspectiva óptico-fisiológica de Borissavlievitch. (clique na imagem para aumentar)

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