The Brutality of Fact: Interviews with Francis Bacon by David Sylvester
By David Sylvester
Brutality of truth: Interviews with Francis Bacon
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There's never any tension in it. DS You don't think it can con vey feelings? FB 1 think it can convey very watered-down lyrical feelings, because 1 think any shapes cano But 1 don't think it can really convey feeling in the grand sense. DS By which you mean more specific and more directed feelings? FB Yeso D S You say it lacks tension, but don't you think that certain kinds of expectation which the spectator has of art can be disturbed by an abstract painting in a way that can engender tension?
How weIl can you set the trap? Where and at what moment will it click? And there's another thing, that has to do with texture. 1 think the texture of a painting seems to be more immediate th an 57 the texture of a photograph, bGcause the texture of a photograph seems to go through an illustrational process onto the nervous system, whereas the texture of a painting seems to come immediately onto the nervous system. It's terribly like, for instance .... Supposing you were to think of great ancient Egyptian things made of bubble gum, supposing you were to think of the Sphinx made of bubble gum, would it have had the same effect upon the sensibility over the centuries if you could pick it up gently and lift it?
1 think that the mystery of fact is conveyed by an image being made out of non-rational marks. And you can't will this non-rationality of a mark. That is the reason that accident al ways has to enter into this activity, because the moment you know what to do, you're making just another form of illustration. But what can happen sometimes, as it happened in this Rembrandt self-portrait, is that there is a coagulation of non-representational marks which have led to making up this very great image.