The work of Francis Bacon is set to be featured in an exhibition opening in June 2023 at Tate Modern; Capturing the Moment. Bringing together works from the Tate collection and Yageo Foundation Collection this exhibition “invites visitors to discover the dynamic relationship between the brush and the lens – contemporary painting and photography.”
Bacon was deeply influenced by photography, from Muybridge’s sequences of human motion to film stills from Battleship Potemkin. He drew heavily upon the medium in his creative process, from scraps of photographs and news cuttings scattered around his studio, to using printed photographs of his sitters (often taken by friend and photographer John Deakin) rather than having them sit in-person.
The exhibition will feature many other contemporary artists from the past 100 years, including Andy Warhol, Jeff Wall, Michael Armitage, Louise Lawler, Nijdeka Akunyili Crosby and Bacon’s friend, peer and rival Lucian Freud.
Freud and Bacon both experimented with the medium of photography in their own work, and in their portraits of each other, as Martin Harrison points out of Study for Portrait of Lucian Freud, 1964:
Freud’s pose was probably (freely) based on photographs John Deakin took for Bacon of the sitter on his bed.
Excerpt: Martin Harrison, Francis Bacon: Catalogue Raisonné (London: The Estate of Francis Bacon Publishing, 2016 p. 750).
The exhibition will start with the work of post-war expressive painters such as Bacon and Freud – whose work experimented and grappled with photography – through to contemporary artists such as Christina Quarles and Rachel Owens, who merge painting with new forms of digital media.
Capturing the Moment is an exhibition that explores how the brush and the lens influenced some of the greatest artists in modern history, offering visitors the opportunity to discover more about both mediums. As Bacon once told friend and art critic David Sylvester; “photographs are not only points of reference, they’re often triggers of ideas.”
Read more about Francis Bacon’s relationship with photography on our website here.