A new display has recently been installed in the gallery in conjunction with the launch of the Bacon’s Books symposium which will be taking place this weekend.
Seven large photos which were taken by photographer Perry Ogden are now hanging in the Chambers Room which is located beside the Bacon Studio in the gallery. Prior to the removal of Francis Bacon’s studio from 7, Reece Mews, South Kensington, photographer Perry Ogden took a series of remarkable images of the studio and its contents as Bacon left it on his death in April 1992. These images capture the unique atmosphere of Bacon’s studio and allow one to explore the artist’s private space where he lived and worked for over thirty years. With great intimacy, Ogden captures every detail of the studio including the torn photographs, precarious piles of books, magazines and newspapers, the paint on the walls and even the layer of dust on the shelves beneath the mirror.
The images have a vibrant colour saturation which amplifies the visual intensity of Bacon’s studio. Indeed the visual aesthetic of the artist’s studio lends itself to lush and tactile photographic representation. From torn images strewn on the floor, to multicoloured paint encrustations on the walls, to myriad brushes projecting from jars… Ogden’s images see Bacon’s creative mess become a thing of enthralling beauty.
The new display also includes a selection of Bacon’s books presented in two display cases. Bacon’s interest in literature spanned many subjects and this selection aims to reflect his diverse interests. The chosen books equally reflect the papers which are to be presented at the symposium this weekend. Among the books currently displayed is a survey of art in Ancient Egypt, a book by the French writer Marcel Proust, a recipe book on French County Cooking, a novel by Hervé Guibert, as well as a publication on the artist French Ernest-Pignon-Ernest. Handwritten dedications on the inside of book covers offer an insight into the artist’s relationship with different writers. Inside the book entitled “Soho in the Fifties” by Daniel Farson there is a dedication by the author which reads “For Francis with thanks for the laughter and many happy times over the years. Love from Dan. Happy Birthday Dec 28 1987”. A Tate catalogue as well as books on Veláquez and Rodin can be seen in Ogden’s photographs as well as the display cases thus making a visual connection between the two elements of this new display.
This display is curated by Monika Keska who has been working in the gallery for the past year as a Research Assistant for the project entitled Bacon’s Books: Francis Bacon’s library and its role in his art. Monika will be presenting her paper tomorrow Saturday the 20th October, it is entitled Encounters: The Influence of Francis Bacon’s painting on French literature.