Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Extract from ‘Interviews with Francis Bacon’ by David Sylvester

F.B. …. I’m just trying to make images as accurately off my nervous system as I can. I don’t even know what half of them mean. I’m not saying anything. Whether one’s saying anything for other people, I don’t know. But I’m not really saying anything, because I’m probably much more concerned with the aesthetic qualities of a work than, perhaps, Munch was. But I’ve no idea what any artist is trying to say, except the most banal artists, I can think what Fuseli and people like that are trying to say.

D.S. Perhaps the tendency to interpret your work as saying something comes from the fact that people like to try and find a story in art and are rather starved of stories in the art of the times, so that, when they find an art like yours, it’s a great temptation to weave stories.

F.B. Yes, I’m sure it is.

D.S. Something similar has happened with Giacometti – the tendency to interpret his figures as Existential Man.

F.B. And how did he feel about that?

D.S. He thought it was rather crass. He said he was only trying to copy what he saw.

F.B. Exactly.

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