The Last Words of Francis Bacon
The descent into Bacon’s tomb is the perpetual fall of a heap of flesh, the collapse of a volume that must be kept upright, vertical. In the inversion that founds his name, Bacon recalls what keeps the drama active: the combat of the meat, its effort to hold mass and weight, somewhere. The bodies take part in a strange meal: a struggle not to disintegrate in the decor that surrounds, cuts out, and cuts into certain masses of meat that are still involved in life, and that aim at other bodies, other meats, as one would aim for the bull’s-eye in the center of objects, colors or directions that never cease to torture us. And what is this torture? It is the fate of the acrobatic meats that try for a time to hold themselves together so as not to fall into the grave.
This novel-film, where the work of the painter and his movements are embodied in the duration of the images, stages the final hours lived by Bacon at the Ruber Clinic in Madrid in 1992. It combines a series of real or fantasized events with the dialogues exchanged with the nun who looked after him.
Beyond the evident brutality of Bacon’s paintings, this novel-film highlights their paradoxical and cruel gentleness, everything that testifies to Bacon’s search for an impossible contact with the other, of his irremediable loneliness, illustrating an intimate relationship to his body and to the bodies of others.
The Last Words of Francis Bacon (2024)
Translated by Rainer J. Hanshe
Author photo by Clément Paradis