Francis Bacon and the Existential Condition in Contemporary Art
In his figurative yet, to all appearances, abstract paintings, the Irish painter Francis Bacon (1910–1992) so deformed, distorted, and warped the human body that, in an existential sense, he created icons of human failure: his figures are unsuccessful in their attempts to position themselves in space and time, within the picture frame. This publication contrasts the master’s oeuvre with a selection of works by contemporary artists who reflect in equal measure on the conditio humana. Nathalie Djurberg, Adrian Ghenie, Arcangelo Sassolino, Chiharu Shiota, and Annegret Soltau enter into a dialogue with their artistic predecessor. Photographic portraits, reproductions of old paintings, film stills, and illustrations from books and magazines that Bacon kept in his studio archives create a bridge to the artist’s private life, thus encouraging the reader to ponder different ways of life and to question the current existential condition of society.