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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.

Recommended:

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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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