This is the second book I’ve written about today whose blurb name-checks David Bowie. Well, that’s 2016 for you.
Francis Bacon is without doubt one of the giants of the art of the latter part of the Twentieth Century. Whether you like his work can’t alter that and he was, in general, a man who set out to confront rather than console. His work makes you think rather than feel comfortable and it’s possible to appreciate it because of, rather than in spite of, that.
The interviews here were conducted over a 25 year period and are reproduced verbatim as dialogues rather than a prose account. While it has an honesty, in print this can make for rather disjointed reading, but it is hard to argue with the preservation of the subject’s immediate rather than reported speech.
David Sylvester is a forensic interviewer and he benefits from Bacon’s trust, which leads to full and candid answers to often searching questions. The result is a classic account of the artistic endeavour that has resonated with other practitioners (and Bowie, who named it his favourite book) since its original publication in 1975. Its subtitle, The Brutality of Fact, provides a strong clue to its nature.
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