You can’t be more horrific than life itself.Francis Bacon
If I were psychoanalyzed, I might stop being a sculptor.Henry Moore
Although they were neither friends nor collaborators, painter Francis Bacon (1909-1992) and sculptor Henry Moore (1898-1986) were contemporaries who shared an obsession with expressing themes of suffering, struggle and survival in relation to the human body. Both artists were focused, in different ways, on representing the body in various states of contortion, which reflected their experiences of conflict and violence. Drawing on the artists' own personal experiences and references, including the London Blitz, the exhibition examines how confinement and angst fostered their extraordinary creativity and unique visions.
Bacon, known as a tortured soul with sado-masochistic tendencies, embraced his passions and despairs. His work portrays the body as disfigured and deconstructed, often in states of confinement. However, he did not see his paintings as horrific but as life-affirming: “I deform and dislocate people into appearance; or hope to.”
Moore, a British war artist, was internationally renowned for his large-scale, semi-abstract bronzes. His sculptures evoke endurance and stability but, when considered in the light of his wartime experiences, they read as an effort to rebuild and redeem the fragile human psyche and body.
Click to play a recording of Behind the Scenes: Francis Bacon and Henry Moore, a panel discussion with exhibition co-curator Richard Calvocoressi; Emeritus Fellow of St Peter’s College, Oxford, Francis Warner; and Henry Moore's daughter, Mary Moore:
Recorded: Wednesday April 2, 2014 @ Baillie Court, Art Gallery of Ontario