‘Visceral’ Bacon show set for Liverpool

Tate Liverpool set for 'visceral' Francis Bacon show

Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion c.1944

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Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion c.1944

A forthcoming Francis Bacon exhibition aims to make visitors think differently about the artist's "bleak and depressing" output.

The summer show at Tate Liverpool is billed as the largest Bacon exhibition ever staged in the north of England.

Artistic director Francesco Manacorda said the focus would be on Bacon's use of "ghost-like" frames around many of his subjects.

On show will be around 30 paintings alongside rarely seen drawings.

"This cage thing has never really been explored," Mr Manacorda said at Friday's launch event in London.

"Focusing on this will help people look at the painting differently and understand the complexity. It's a good point of entry."

Irish-born Bacon, who died aged 81 in 1992, is famous for his distorted images of people and is widely considered one of the most famous 20th Century British painters.

The exhibition – titled Francis Bacon: Invisible Rooms – will include the works Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion (1944) and Study for a Portrait (1952).

Mr Manacorda said the show would be organised to provide visitors with "a visceral experience".

He said: "They will be able to understand what is normally perceived as extremely bleak and depressing is actually much more complex."

One of his his ideas is to display an artwork in a special room that will give the viewer a sense of being framed inside one of Bacon's paintings.

"We will try to organise the architecture to mirror what he was trying to do," Mr Manacorda said.

"We will build a room with four walls with passages in between so you will feel some sort of containment – and you will see an image of containment in front of you."

The Bacon exhibition will be accompanied by the first retrospective in the UK of the late Austrian artist Maria Lassnig.

Francis Bacon: Invisible Rooms is at Tate Liverpool from 18 May to 18 September.

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