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Saturday, April 5, 2008

Bacon and Disney

From an essay on the film "The Truman Show"

John Berger in his essay on Francis Bacon. Consider what he says in the following quote:

Bacon's art is, in effect, conformist. It is not with Goya or the early Eisenstein that he should be compared, but with Walt Disney. Both men make propositions about the alienated behaviour of our societies; and both, in a different way, persuade the viewer to accept what is. Disney makes alienated behaviour look funny and sentimental and therefore, acceptable. Bacon interprets such behaviour in terms of the worst possible having already happened, and so proposes that both refusal and hope are pointless. The surprising formal similarities of their work -- the way limbs are distorted, the overall shapes of bodies, the relation of figures to background and to one another, the use of neat tailor's clothes, the gesture of hands, the range of colours used -- are the result of both men having complementary attitudes to the same crisis.

Disney's world is also charged with vain violence. The ultimate catastrophe is always in the offing. His creatures have both personality and nervous reactions: what they lack (almost) is mind. If, before a cartoon sequence by Disney, one read and believed the caption, "There is nothing else," the film would strike us as horrifically as a painting by Bacon.

Bacon's paintings do not comment, as is often said, on any actual experience of loneliness, anguish or metaphysical doubt; nor do they comment on social relations, bureaucracy, industrial society or the history of the 20th century. To do any of these things they would have to be concerned with consciousness. What they do is to demonstrate how alienation may provoke a longing for its own absolute form--which is mindlessness. This is the consistent truth demonstrated, rather than expressed, in Bacon's work."

Bacon would seem, to me to have stepped past absurdity, which actively contrasted our longing and our reality, throwing up a life in disconection from any type of ideal that would find us 'at home'.

Ah, he has taken us to the edge of meaning that arises (!) from a consistent materialism. How shallow then, for the SADist position to rely on any way on the nostrums of materialism/evolution, as having any connection with the God how is love, who is only and always consistent with his holiness, and aspires to relationship with his creation, overturning the death that separates as we would push him away from us!