Like an analyst listening to a patient, this study attends not just to what is said in David Sylvester's interviews with Francis Bacon, but also crucially to what is left unspoken, to revealing interruptions and caesuras. Through interpreting these silences, After Francis Bacon breaks with stereotypical ideas about the artist's work and provides new readings and avenues of research. After Francis Bacon is the first book to give extended consideration to the way the reception of Bacon's art, including Gilles Deleuze's influential text on the artist, has been shaped by the Sylvester interviews - and to move beyond the limiting effects of the interviews, providing fresh interpretations. Nicholas Chare draws upon recent developments in psychoanalysis and forensic psychology to present innovative readings of Bacon's work, primarily based on the themes of sadomasochism and multi-sensory perception. Through bringing Bacon's paintings into dialogue with Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness and the film Alien, he also provides original insights into the ethical relevance the artist's works have for today. This study addresses the complexities of the artist's practice - particularly in relation to sexuality and synaesthesia - and additionally forms a crucial intervention within current debates about creative writing in art history.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface; Introduction: writing in fidelity; His master's voice; Auditing the studio; Sexing the canvas; X marks the spot; Private viewing; Afterimages; Bibliography; Index.
Nicholas Chare is Associate Professor of Modern Art in the Department of History of Art and Film Studies at the Université de Montréal, Canada. His recent publications include Matters of Testimony (co-authored with Dominic Williams, 2016) and a special issue of parallax on the theme of Trans-: Across/Beyond (co-edited with Ika Willis, 2016).
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'Nicholas Chare has written an intellectually engaging and rich theoretical analysis of the work of Francis Bacon ... a significant contribution and in many respects an important and necessary intervention in the art historical literature on the artist. Chare's particular focus on issues of sex and sexuality in Bacon's life and work not only extends the prevailing discussion in new and interesting directions, but also makes evident some other ways in which to think about sense and aesthetics - a topic of considerable interest in art history, cultural studies and contemporary philosophy.' John Paul Ricco, University of Toronto, Canada, author of The Logic of the Lure and The Decision Between Us
'Chare grounds his chapter heavily with theory and his visual analysis of Bacon's work to deliver impressive clarity in his approach. His book proves overall to be experimental both theoretically and stylistically; it is a pleasure to read, for Chare obviously delights in theoretical variety and his prose often reflects the sensuousness of the works. He discusses Bacon’s treatment and incorporation of bodily sensation without leaning too far towards the sensational, making a strong case for the paintings to be read as a form of sadomasochistic practice.' Art History