Bacon's Light Bulb

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition


‘Bacon’s Light Bulb’ explores the ‘photographic’ through an examination of Francis Bacon’s ‘complete’ painted archive. The work seeks to contribute to and extend current debates surrounding the expanding definitions of photography both in terms of process and subject matter in light of new technology.

The light bulb and ceiling of Bacon’s London studio, 7 Reece Mews, has been recreated using the 3D modelling and synthetic photography techniques of architectural visualisation. His studio was a famously cramped and chaotic environment where space was often so restricted that it became impossible to paint. This work explores a dialogue between the physical and virtual creative spaces and touches on the often-perceived privilege of the analogue.
Bacon’s studio interior has then been algorithmically rendered as a photographic simulation using each painting in Bacon’s career as the light source. The resulting 584 images are arranged chronologically and grouped in the 8 decades over which the artist worked.

The work offers a reinterpretation of Bacon’s archive, removing all visual content from his artworks and replacing this with a constant re-rendering of a banal portion of the legendary space in which the works were created. Readings are therefore limited to interpretations of the smallest changes in colour and tone as visible clues to the relationship between artist, space and artwork. The rhythm of these images is intended to suggest a complex of associations; with the artworks themselves, the turbulent moments in Bacon’s personal life and the significant global events of the time.

The light itself is the algorithmically generated referent and the unlit lightbulb remains the sole recognisable device, although its constant static repetition throughout the work could lead to the viewer’s questioning of the importance of this sole remaining figurative element.

The series is shown at the Klompching Gallery, Brooklyn, a well-established contemporary photography gallery in the Dumbo Arts area of New York City with a recognised programme of exhibiting work dealing with fresh approaches to both analogue and digital technologies.
‘Bacon’s Light Bulb’ is one of five works being exhibited as part of their FRESH 2018, a curated show of how contemporary photography can currently be defined and understood.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherKlompching Gallery
Size6 x 19"x24" mounted prints
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2018
EventFresh 2018: Annual Summer Exhibition - Brooklyn, United States
Duration: 11 Jul 20184 Aug 2018


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