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study for a running dog

Study for a Running Dog - Francis Bacon

The Francis Bacon exhibiton at the Museum of Modern Art Tokyo (which ends today) is particularly strong on his early work, or perhaps better: shows how Bacon's early work was particularly strong. Like this one, 'Study for a Running Dog' from 1954, a concentrated, nightmarish image of menace.

The influence on Bacon of Eadweard Muybridge's time-lapse photography of animal and human movement shows in works like this one and his earlier 'Study of a Dog' (1952). Both works suggest movement through a blurring effect of paint, in this case feverishly forward, straight as on a track - the gutter as a giant treadmill.

This Japan Times article describes the effect as "like a camera with its shutter open too long, suggestive of man in time and motion." It quotes Bacon on his intentions:

I would like my pictures to look as if a human being had passed between them, like a snail, leaving a trail of the human presence and memory trace of past events, as the snail leaves its slime.

'Study for a Running Dog' is a sped-up, animal version of this, leaving the faint trace of a bad dream.

Two interesting documentaries on Bacon: The South Bank Show (1985) and 'Francis Bacon's Arena' (2005), which was scored by Brian Eno.


throwing self on heap of hay

One of the founding fathers of modern cinema, Eadweard Muybridge famously introduced motion into photography by pioneering the technique of stop-action photography. (The principle behind his technique is still used , with some computer… Read the full post »

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