Alex Verney-Elliot Interview: "Bacon is fucked and finished"


EP : "A few definitions first, what do you mean by the concepts of the Alien, Reptilian, Dinosaur? Are they all the same? Are they good or evil or both? Or are they beyond good and evil?"

AA: "The Alien is the abject object hibernating in the human subject. The alien, reptile and dinosaur are the monster of our primordial being and subconscious. We are not descended from the apes; that is pure racist-monkeyist rubbish. We are all aliens, dinosaurs, reptilians Sub-Consciously, and Sub-Bodily; and controlled by reptilians from far away. Alien and reptile are beyond good and evil; they are rather active and reactive forces forging against or in unison with other alien forces. One can always smell and see the 'reactive forces' of the abject aliens reptiles that slime our streets: the most insidious are the hivhomosexhybrid clones with their reptilian features (many calling themselves 'hiv'' and mutate their reptilian forms via 'anti-HIV drugs' and 'recreational drugs' to give them that Miss Belsen Poppers Dis-eased Shaven-Head Look): they have facial wasting and grow humps via Protease Inhibitors; creating a kind of Pharmacopeia Reptilian Replicant. We are all aliens with diverse blood-lines: proactive and reactive, radical and reactionary. We have moved beyond the human but most people still assume they are human...I strongly identify with Bacon's snorting, sipping, slipping, sliding, snarling, sniffing, spunking, sliming, sailing shitting shape-shifting reptilian aliens....Take Bacon's Turning Figure (1963) or his Lying Figure in a Mirror (1971) - they are mutated beyond the human to the reptilian shape-shifting alien."

EP: "You see yourself as an alien. Do you think you are really a shape-shifting alien? Are you a lizard reptilian being?"

AA: "Yes. I don't have any human features. My eyes are reptilian in form. I am ontologically reptilian in my form and shape-shift into numerous reptilian identities as Leon Potgieter has done. In my art, in my thinking, I smell, snore, soil, spunk, shit like a reptilian alien. As a child I strongly identified with dinosaurs; their Sensationistic bone structures and solid shattered skulls ; I saw myself as more alien, more dinosaur than human; I even felt a strong sexual attraction to dinosaurs. David Icke, the master of modern myth, has instinctively opened up the valves of reptilian retina sensationism returning and reuniting us with our lizard reptilian dinosaur roots. We have nothing to do with descending from apes; Bacon saw us as descending from fish forms. If you subconsciously scrutinize the so-called human head you'll see and smell certain lizard reptilian signs and shapes not ape shit shapes. My recent self-portrait charcoal drawings resemble the head features and textures of Dromaeosaur. The Independent ran the headline recently: 'Revealed after 130 years: The face of a dinosaur' - displaying a photo of the head of Dromaeosaur. (The Independent, 26 April, 2001: this edition also ran the headline: 'Mayfair gallery sued in £100m battle over the life and legacy of Francis Bacon'.)

EP: "As Mike Verney-Elliott put it: Bacon is to Popes what Russell is to Nuns and what Fellini is to both. Why do British critics always associate Bacon and Russell with sex, violence and horror?"

AA: "Because our cunting critics have no instinct about images and merely repeat the inanities that have become the current clichés associated with Bacon and Russell. Both these image makers have been consistently misunderstood and mauled by our critics. Just as a Prophet is without honour in his own country, so Bacon and Russell have always been appreciated and revered abroad. Bacon said in 1987 after a show at the Lelong Gallery: 'I don't know why the French seem to like me, but what I do know is that the critics in England loathe everything that I do.' Bacon and Russell are accused of being too 'in-your-face' and of going 'over the top' and of 'going too far'. And here is that quote from Bacon: 'Its only by going too far that you can hope to break the mould and do something new. Art is a question of going too far'. As superb sensationism image makers, Bacon and Russell have always stated that art is a question of going too far; one can never go far enough in art....Russell and Bacon strip away the veils of tame 'good taste' and subdued subtlety to reveal raw the vapour and valves of voluptuous sensations...beyond the pleasure principal...penetrating the body...by bathing in 'bad taste'..."

EP: "Did Bacon ever go and see Ken's The Devils when it was first released? If so, what scenes appealed to him?"

AA: "Yes, Bacon saw The Devils when it was first released with Eddie Gray - who was also in the film. Eddie told me that Bacon very much liked the first scene with the plague victims whirling around on cart wheels stuck on tall posts. Eddie Gray was also an extra in The Devils."

EP: "Do you recognise any images from The Devils that may have been transcribed by Bacon in his image making? Or any other of Ken's films?"

AA: "Not directly apart from Christopher Logues's smirking Cardinal Richelieu and Derek Jarman's clinically cold white washed walls and stark sets - the best thing he ever did! The image from Altered States with William Hurt crawling along beating the ground shape shifting was Baconian."

EP: "I see Bacon's work as celebrating-confronting the so called modern monster - man's decaying, rotten side of the liquidating psyche and bruised blooded broken body - not as a concern with the 'human condition' but the 'animal condition'. How do you see his work?"

AA: "Bacon does indeed celebrate our internal raw animal decay, degeneration and as a state of ruin. In Heidegger's sense of 'falling'; our falling and eventual death where being becomes time and body becomes nothing. Bacon is recording our will to nothingness and our non-existence: we are just shitting, vomiting, bleeding bodies in constant smelly decay. Bacon crudely reduced being to the body; a body hollowed of being; that is an 'inauthentic' body devoid of subconscious stuff, leaking life; a violent void, the body as a void of being. The liquid stuff of being is ejaculated from the body; being is ontological liquid. But early Bacon imagery initiates liquids flowing forth but by the 1980s Bacon's bodies dried up and were served off the bone: spineless, boneless and bloodless, Bacon's bodies were bled bleached bare."

EP: "Why do you think you are Francis Bacon's successor and when did you and Bacon ricochet?"

AA: "Because I learnt from the old master; none of his other friend-artists seemed to have done this. I still cannot see any other artists about who are directly influenced by Bacon's irrational-arbitrary articulations in paint. He preferred the company of trailer-trash and I may have been too over bearing in my youthful obsessive admiration for him and for being too critical of his work of which became watered-down and too illustrative. Although Bacon stated to Sylvester: 'I've always hoped to find another painter I could really talk to - somebody whose qualities and sensibility I'd really believe in - who really tore my things to bits and whose judgment I could actually believe in....I think it would be marvelous to have somebody who would say to you, Do this, do that, don't do this, don't do that! and give you the reasons. I think it would be very helpful...I long for people to tell me what to do, to tell me where I go wrong...' Bacon is being disingenuous here: he did not adhere to radical critique; he resented it when I told him his work was becoming weak, repetitious and above all, illustrative: I asked him why he went back to illustration in his portraits; why he no longer used those subconscious arbitrary non-illustrational brush marks. It seemed as if he was regressing, going against they very ethos of his art as he so eloquently he states in his interviews with Sylvester. I was too cutting and critical so he cut-off; as Michael Peppiatt aptly peppered it: 'Bacon could not be pinned down. The closer you got to him, the more likely he was to turn nasty or simply disappear.' (Francis Bacon: Anatomy of An Enigma). I invited Bacon to my exhibition at the Fisher Fine Art Gallery - which was a benefit in aid of London Contemporary Dance Theatre - but the cunt didn't turn up! London's Evening Standard ran an arts review headline: 'Bringing Home The Bacon' previewing the show with a grotesque photograph of me as 'Portrait of a Madman'....but Bacon didn't have much time for young artists."

EP: "Why has this not been done before, this School of Bacon? Would Bacon have agreed?"

AA: "No, not at all. I am surprised there has not been a School of Francis Bacon before; since he is seen as the greatest British painter of the last century. Bacon would have found the School of Francis Bacon abhorrent - he would have laughed cynically at the idea. Artist, Scattergood-Moore, told me idea of the Bacon School was 'ridiculous'. However, the School of Bacon is not about doing pastiche-Bacons but rather to tackle what he was working towards - making anti-illustrational art".

EP: "What are Bacon's most pungently poignantly putridly soiled sludge shape-shifting sensationism images?"

AA: "Study for Portrait of Henrietta Moraes on a Red Ground (1964): it is solid and soiled and smells of bodily stinks with leaking black smear slime shit skid stuffs spurted on the mattress. This great portrait has the sensuous seduction of an Egyptian Odalisque as does the other Portrait of Henrietta Moraes (1963) reproduced below. And his Study for Head of Lucien Freud (1967) which displays and flays Freud fried and frayed off the bone in a reptilian-green and pink-salmon spunk sauce. I love Bacon's Portrait of Isabel Rawsthorne (1966) which has a haunting smelling similarity to Hogarth's Shrimp Girl (National Gallery London). Bacon's greatest arbitrary, accidental anti-illustrational images were painted between 1960 and 1965. By the 1970's Bacon had passed her sell-by date, paint-by date. By the 1980's Bacon slipped back into the worn grooves of weak watery inane illustration; the evil of banality. If you check out the catalogue Francis Bacon: Papes et autres figures (Galerie Lelong,1999), and look at Study for Portrait of John Edwards (1986) Study from the Human Body (1987), Triptych (1991) you'll see Bacon is fucked and finished, absolutely absent, totally out of sync with the sensation of his nervous system, as if Bacon were no longer present; these etiolated ectoplasmic emanations do not even bare the trace of Bacon. He should've knifed them.,,or got John Edwards to knife them...but they were money in the bank..."

EP: "What are the weak points in Bacon's image making? His total lack of draughtsmanship?"

AA: "Because Bacon was not a draughtsman he was defeated when it came to featuring feet and handling hands - as well as being disarmed over arms and his torsos were not taut but truncated. When it came to painting legs she did not have a leg to stand. She was always fucking legless being a professional piss artist and it was her heavy drinking which often resulted in her producing piss poor paintings towards the end of her legless life. In the end she preferred being a piss-artist, a con-artist than an artist. Bacon's handling of hands and formation of feet are very close to the distortions of Disneyesque caricatures, as John Berger commented on in his comparison between Bacon and Disney...(New Society, 6 January, 1972) And columnist and commentator Paul Johnson stated on Bacon in 1992: 'He could not draw. His ability to paint was limited and the way he laid the pigments on the canvas was often barbarous. He had no ideas, other than one or two morbid fancies arising from his homosexuality, chaotic way of life, and Irish fear of death. What he did have was a gimmick, something resembling an advertising designer's logo. In his case it was a knack of portraying the human face or body not so much twisted as smeared out of shape. It was enough. Such a logo could easily be dressed up by the scriptwriters of the industry into an image of 'our despairing century'; it fitted their favourite words 'disquieting', 'disturbing'.....' Yet our cuntish critics coin the moronic mantra that: 'Bacon was was the greatest British painter since Turner'.."

EP: "But many people, including Bacon scholars like Peppiatt and Sylvester, stated that Bacon could draw and had a fluent line."

AA: "It depends on how they are defining drawing. Bacon could not draw. Bacon was not a draughtsman like Picasso or Schiele."

EP: "Did Francis Bacon know or work with your father, Ken Russell? Did they ever meet?"

AA: "No: they never met though Bacon told me he admired my father's work. When I knew Bacon, my father was producing opera productions and I suggested to Bacon that he should deign the sets for Strauss's Salome (which my father produced under conductor, Horst Stein in Geneva) or Elektra. Contrary to Michel Archimbaud's claim (in Conversation with Francis Bacon): 'But to come back to opera, have you thought of designing for a production; has anyone ever asked you?' (Bacon replied): 'No; I've never really thought about it.' - Bacon certainly thought about it with me. Sadly, he never met my father. But both Bacon and Russell shared an obsession with the sensation of the image directly nailing the nervous-system of the audience. It was stimulating seeing Bacon and Russell discussing the images from Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin in the BBC 2 documentary, 'Art That Shook The World'. As the critic Douglas Slater stated in Films Illustrated (September, 1981) regarding Russell's Altered States: 'Russell's serious interest in the movie is for the images and sounds that act upon the audience away from words and rational thought.' Bacon and Russell also believed that their art forms could not be taught; Bacon told me all art schools should be closed down and Russell stated in Films and Filming (May, 1872) on Orson Welles: 'Close down the Film Schools; give everyone a roll of film, a 16mm camera, a copy of the Kane script, turn him lose on the world and stand back. Truffaut started that way - so did I...' Both Bacon and Russell work from their basic instincts and their raw nerves which our cunt art critics have no understanding of because they have no basic instinct for art...which is, after all, why they are critics; the moment you write about art the moment you erase about art; only banal inauthentic art can be talked about because it is merely surface stories signifying something. All cuntish critics can do is pen pseudo psychoanalytic detoured decorations and clumsy cultural critiques that cannot penetrate the art of subconscious Sensationism which is always already pre-linguistic outside inane illustration and meaning. When I asked Ken at the Cannes Film Festival 2001 which of Bacon's paintings he most admired he said: 'His Pope series. His Popes have a distilled silent grandeur of sanctimonious violence...I wish I'd met him.' Francis Bacon stated In Conversation with Michel Archimbaud,: 'You know, I've often said to myself that I would have liked to have been a film director if I hadn't been a painter.'..."

Leon Potgieter: "How do you feel about art moving from complex detail (illustration) into compressed, 'non-organised' movement"?

AA: "This is the future for portrait painting: making marks as subconsciously as possible. This means that one must not draw in or paint in conscious detail by drawing in the forms, but by making arbitrary marks to re-make a hyper-reality, or the fourth dimensional extra-empirical reality. Lucien Freud is still stuck in the 19th century with his literal banality of illustration. Literal truth is the real lie as Van Gogh stated in his Letters: 'I want my paintings to be inaccurate and anomalous in such away that they become lies, if you like, but lies that are more truthful than the literal truth.' Literal appearance is the lazy lie that weak painters like Lucien Freud and David Hockney cling to. We need to paint directly from the body, from the nervous-system, the immune-system, smell-system; like the essence of the lemon which makes the lemon taste like the lemon: it's acrid acidic stinging memory trace that you remember. A portrait should smell, stink, of the essence of soggy-spermatic sliminess. Portrait and figure painting should be like lemons and onions; leaving one with a sour taste in torn torrential tears....or having the same sensations as being raped, stabbed, bombed shot, or slowly tortured...or the ultimate smelting sensation of the electric chair...or being very slowly well-hung or being beheaded. What is the sensation of being beheaded?"

LP: "Do you feel (not think), that movement can become the detail, the sensation of nailed image itself?"

AA: "Yes, paradoxically, the movement has all the detail always already hidden within the arbitrary mark. So one chance made mark can say more than a million marks that make up an illustrative image....non-rational marks in portraiture are much more powerful and poignant because they are more primordially suggestive than illustrative photo-realism which negates psychic sensation."

LP: "Bacon is the master of disaster. Are you heading for disaster? Have you ever had the feeling that your art, being non-organised, could give more life to a seemingly soiled dead-matter inside an inner-dimensions?"

AA: "We are always already heading for disaster; it is always already question of time, as being is, before we are annihilated, erased bombed out of being there. As Bacon said: 'We all need to be aware of the potential disaster which stalks us every moment of the day.' Paint or charcoal are living matter, in that they can be manipulated to explode and implode the body. I want the paint or charcoal to make the art itself without me directing it. To work directly from the subconscious body. Working by instinct is working directly from the body not brain. Bacon is right in stating that one simply cannot talk about painting, real painting that is. The moment one starts to analyse, to critique is always already the moment language fails and misses the point which is the paint - non-illustrational paint that is. Painting begins where language ends. Language cannot unveil, cannot penetrate real art only decorate, make detours around it. Take Gilles Deleuze's easy essay on Bacon entitled Logique de la sensation - recently translated into English - he says nothing but just skates, slips, slides, slithers, sneers, surfaces, shakes, snarls, sinks and sails away. Pure painting cannot be penned or pinned only pain-ted. The abjected alien image is always already trapped living in the paint and trying to make escape routes through the thrown and perverted paint. It is just knowing how we can free the stuff through our nervous body movements and our own forms of force from the body. The body makes the image; the body's blood and spunk is the paint. In your paintings, Leon, I see you are conjuring up images out of what seems to be nothing, thin air; they just begin to form from no-thing yet are never illustrative heads because you never fill-in the boring details of illustrative form (eyes, nose, mouth). Like what I strive for in my art, you put the facial features in without having to put them in! Bacon's best work was executed between 1953 to 1967 when he painted non -illustrational portraits; from around 1970 onwards bored Bacon ended up with weak pissy painting-by-numbers illustration - by using that thin inane illustrative pallid paint."

LP: "Do think the creative minds acts as the judges of the fore-bearing visionary consciousness of our physical biological composure in an ever changing world? So, in other words, do we direct our own evolutionary steps?"

AA: "It is not just cloning that may mutate our bodily being but also the act of art itself may direct our future identities. Take carnal alien artist our Orlan, who is a shape shifting reptile, like our Kristeva is...they operate outside being woman becoming alien again."

LP: "As we are trapped within a physical, cellular, plasma body in a three-dimensional spectrum. Is this the seed for the multi-dimensional consciousness and structure? How can we as artist alien, tap, trap and interact with these subconscious forces within the body?"

AA: "In a lecture by Mark Cousins recently, he mentions the inner-voices of the body, what he termed as the rustle of the body. We need to record in paint and charcoal and writing the rustle of body without organs. What Bacon nominates as that unconscious sea inside us; the nervous system and the body's incorporation of the other: the crypt of the corpse."

LP: "Is there any such a thing as an authentic 'AIDS' art; or is it just pure emotive sentimental kitsch dross?"

AA: "There is no such thing as 'AIDS' art because there is no such thing as 'AIDS'. I wrote an article on the Myth of 'AIDS' Art in Continuum Magazine (May/June 1996) titled 'AIDS-Related Kitsch'; see Alien Archive. One only has to see the putrid pseudo 'AIDS' art in pernicious Poz magazine to see what shit is being sold off as 'AIDS' art; it is hideously humanist and deeply reactionary appealing to Catholic Kitsch which is epitomized in the sick symbol of the venomous Red Ribbon which symbolizes all that is violent, visceral and vulgar about the Virtual Reality 'HIV' Cult Culture Industry. Also I wrote an article for Magnus Magazine (9April 2000) called 'The HIV Homo Fascist Identity' on homo-fascist 'HIV' Trance Group Identity; many homosexuals can't accept the brute fact that 'HIV' does not exist."

LP: "Would you call Bacon politically deeply reactionary, right-wing? Bacon said to Sylvester that he tended to vote for the Right."

AA: "Bacon had an anti-intellectual proto-petty-bourgeois cant displayed in his acidic autodidactic aphorisms. Like Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Derek Jarman, Bacon had homofascist tendencies ontologising, anthropomorphizing, and aestheticising working class violence and working class shit, or, rather, trailer trash turd trade. Jarman, Pasolini, Fassbinder, Visconti, as well as Bacon had an anthropological petit-bourgeois penchant for raw rough trailer trash turd trade; they fetishised, ontologised and aestheticised working class shit as if it was somehow more organic, nutritional, and ontologically richer than middle-class or upper-class shit. It gave them a sense of smug psychic superiority to wallow in working class shit. Psychologically if not physically, Bacon ate all Dyer's shit. What no one has ever analysed is why is it that we all enjoy, identity, even love, the sight and the smell of our own shit but absolutely detest and despise the sight and the smell of other peoples' shit? Yet like we never dream of seeing the sun - we never dream of seeing or smelling our own shit."

EP: "Why was Bacon so interested in gamblers, criminals, murderers, drifters, rough trade and trailer trash?"

AA: "The French call this urge to associate with the lower-classes in order to acquire a frisson 'nostalgie de la boue'...which translates as longing for filth. Bacon felt deeply that if one was trash, was shit ,then one was ontologically richer. Bacon identified with trash, with shit, with diarrhoea, with Dyer; his Dyerrhoea. As a young man, Bacon said he strongly identified with shit. Certainly he saw himself as shit and he wanted the shit beaten out of him and his face rubbed in shit. Bacon's self portraits often look like his face has been rubbed in shit; so shitontological slime smell, sow sperm, stuffs, snot slide sailing so slit sew silk spilt, splintered fucked forced foamed face farting fluidly finding falling failing forward forever... Dyer diarroeaed her fuck face. Dyer put his rear on her face and made diarrhoea. Rubbed her face in diarrhoea which she imprinted on to the canvas. She was full of shit; 'there it is' as she would say... She was an alcoholic manic depressive sado-masochistic gambler who paid for trailer trash turd trade. She made shit Dyer die; Dyer drunk death. She bathed in shoe shine shit. In Bacon's porous paintings you can smell the shit, smell the spunk."

EP: "What was your reaction to the Barry Joule Archive exhibition on show at the London Barbican Art Centre...?"

AA: "Embarrassment, followed by a dull-headache and acute boredom. What did you think of the grotesque charade of Bacon's embalmed tomb?"

EP: "My initial curiosity and excitement was rapidly reduced to mere tedium and disappointment. The only thing mildly stimulating was to see the actual pictures from presumably Bacon's studio. Whoever did the scratches, dreary paint-dropping, smears, and banal brushstrokes was obviously an amateur. I guess the only way to know for sure is for Mr. Joule to send them for some forensic analysis to see if they can trace any fingerprints accidentally imprinted on the paint. Only then will we know. Did you see anything resembling the Joule Archive in Bacon's studio?"

AA: "No. I scanned the soiled scam and none of this ridiculous Baconised rubbish bore the slightest resemblance to work I saw in Bacon's studio in the early 1980's. And I spent some time digging deep into the studio squalor. I saw many photographs in his studio but they never had all these over drawn lines and over scratches all over them... Also the cuttings and scraps and sketches in the Joule Archive were too carefully and beautifully ripped and torn with a meticulously calculated haphazardness and a rehearsed randomness...to give them that authentic scruffy Baconian look. These are very bad fakes indeed and David Sylvester was quick to disassociate himself from Joule and his bogus Bacon archive... Do you think that Joule got some photos from Bacon's studio, being his handyman? Do you think those markings were on those images during Bacon's life time or were they added later after his death?"

EP: "I don't doubt that Barry Joule acquired some archive photographs which Bacon had used as source material in his work but whether they had these spurious spillages and maul markings on them at the time Joule acquired them is the big question. I think that some of Joule's archive may very well be authentic even if it is authentic garbage."

AA: "Having seen the Joule Archive, I still have no reason to doubt Bacon's often repeated assertion that he never did preparatory drawings. The very thought of this worthless Joule Archive garbage being passed off as his work would have Bacon's flitch spinning in its crypt".

EP: "What are you working on now? Are you still working on jazz violinist, Eddie Grey's portrait?"

AA: "I am working on many charcoal drawing self-portraits experimenting with different types of paper textures to try and get a more grainy, gritty, visceral mark that grates on the nerves by passing the lazy boring banality of illustrational mark making which is meaningless and moribund. I am working on a portrait of Peter Tatchell, the homosexual rights activist who has reptilian alien attributes and also on a new portrait of Eddie Gray; I destroyed an earlier naff version done in blue and white which was still too illustrative. I have also been camera operator and set designer on Ken's Fall of the Lose of Usher based upon Edgar Alan Poe's horror stories. We have just come back from the Cannes Film Festival where we were promoting The Fall of Louse of Usher film...I have just finished painting a non-self slime portrait which is stabbed by green and blue pulsation puncture probes which help to nail the face with alien presence but without filling in the human features..."

EP: "Besides Francis Bacon, what other artists are you influenced by in your drawings and paintings?"

AA: "Titian, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Monet, Degas, Cassett, Schiele, Picasso, Duchamp, Nolde, Jawlensky."

EP: "Which of these artists is closer to Bacon's particular putrid psyche and brutality of fact? Picasso?"

AA: "Jawlensky... Jawlensky is a brutalised modern primitive influenced by Kandinsky, Matisse and Picasso. Jawlensky is in many respects far greater than Kandinsky, Matisse and Picasso but he is not widely known and not in vogue. Bacon and Jawlensky may appear to be a bit of a misalliance but both made brute instinctive sensationist images with poignant paint puncture projections; there is a raw violent visceral immediacy that directly nails the nervous system in their primordial portraits. Jawlensy has Picasso's form and Matisse's colour but out shines them both by miles but no one can see it. Both Jawlensky and Bacon used dark disc shapes in their portraits which helped nail the psyche of the subject. The late David Sylvester wrote an essay in Tate (Issue 10, Winter, 1996) entitled 'Finding the Matisse in Bacon.' Sylvester should have written an essay entitled: Finding the Jawlensky in Bacon as there's far more Jawlensky in Bacon than Matisse. A missed opportunity. In fact there's no 'Bacon in Matisse' to find! What a cunt curator critic! Jawlensky is in Bacon!"

EP: "But isn't Jawlensky too literal, too illustrative? Is it the power of the way he applies the paint?"

AA: "Jawlensky did what Modigliani had done: a rhythmic vibrating feathering effect of the brush."

EP: "A kind if musical manoeuvre which creates a movement of a shimmering sensation as an aura."

AA: "And, Van Gogh, to whom Jawlensky and Bacon were drawn, was also literal, but, like Bacon and Jawlensky, it is was the direct raw way Van Gogh applied the paint that made his paintings so poignant, powerful and pulsating. Van Gogh, Modigliani and Jawlensky are profoundly musical composers of paint using repeated rhythmic vibrating feathering as a musical manoeuvre of shimmering sensation. Bacon and Jawlensky painted heads more than face: Bacon's heads are 'meat' whereas Jawlensky's heads are 'meditations'. Certainly Jawlensky's late Meditations go beyond illustration. When painted a head, Bacon applied paint to his canvas as he applied make up to his face: always giving himself a face-lift or a face-off in his self-portraits. Bacon's late self-portraits do not portray the decay of old age but much more resemble skin-crafts and face-lifts - a thick impasto of slap. If Bacon were alive today he would probably be spending a fortune on Botox and face-lifts: Bacon could not paint the brute fact of his own aging face like Rembrandt could do with brute truth."

EP: "Bacon apart, who else has painted in an arbitrary, anti-illustrational, anti-rational, accidental, abjected manner?"

AA: "Titian, Rembrandt, Turner, Monet, Van Gogh, Corinth, Soutine, Nolde - in all their later work they paint outside illustration where the paint takes on an alien organic life of its own; raw real growing glowing fresh frothing smelting spunking shimmering sheening pulsating paint. You see, most portrait and figure painters today actually don't paint but fill-in ; they're scared of the fluid shitty texture of oil paint; they are scared to actually use and abuse oil paint or rather, they are scared to allow the paint to take over; they want to be control of the stuff, the shit, the paint; they want to tame the stuff and pretend that the oil paint is something else. Most so called 'painters' want to tell a boring story in order to actually avoid painting! In fact most 'painters' fear the smelly soiled diarrhoea of oil paint. As Bacon said to Sylvester: 'And the moment the story is elaborated, the boredom sets in; the story talks louder that the paint'... Frank Auerbach celebrates the soiled onto-shitology of paint and manipulates and manures the mark messes of man and woman..."

EP: "Was it Freud who said that shit was the first Objets d' Art that man, or rather, baby, botty, produces?"

AA: "Certainly shit is a cultural artefact that has metamorphosed, mutated into art and money. Great art retains the texture, memory, smell of shit and reinvents it, cultivates it, but still holds on to its primordial, organic ontological diarrhoea drool; that liquid lava stuff as the memory of being there of staining there of smelling there. Man makes shit in his own image. Man wants to leave his smell."

EP: "How important is the influence of music on your image inventing?"

AA: "Yes, music has influenced my images - far more so in fact than painting has. Indeed, music is far more visual than painting and cinema! By that I mean music is more open to imagery where as painting, cinema and photography are always already too delayed, too literal, too closed, too finalised even if they are plural in their multiple meanings and readings. For me, music is the greatest of the arts; above painting, cinema, literature which as I've just said are too illustrative, too literal, too delayed, too weak. Whereas music, as solid blocks of sound, a multi-dimensional material body of sound, shoots straight to the body, the nervous system before the brain can decode it, read it. And while music is meaningless and about nothing it is always already a record of the rhythms of the memory traces of embodied being; music, at least great music, is embodiment in sound. I heard Lorin Maazel conduct Mahler 5 (31 June 2001) and Bruckner 8 (3 June 2001) with the Philharmonia Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall and sat in the choir bench seats...seat G28... which is directly in front of the timpani and brass so one gets the full visceral impact. The climax in the Bruckner 8 adagio with cymbal clash, timpani and triangle was so intense that it physically penetrated and pushed my body. The Mahler 5 under Maazel was also a body blowing nerve wracking experience with its blazing brass and timpani thwacks. The Philharmonia timpanist is incredible to watch...and the intense sounds he produces penetrate the body...I would love to paint with the nailing intensity of his timpani playing. The Philharmonia Orchestra recently performed Magnus Lindberg's Aura conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen where the timpani penetrated the body reducing it too jellied eels degutted of subjectivity where on shapeshifts from human subjectivity tio alien objectivity. As Lindberg said to music critic, Marc Bridle: ‘I don’t ask people to understand music in any technical sense because I don’t understand music in the same sense that you understand a set phrase in a language. Music is much more complex and the semantics are not really about comprehension. What makes this serious music different from commercial music is that its function is not the same as dance music or music you have on in the background. The only thing you should ask is to sit down and concentrate on it – if you don’t listen to it, it is merely a disturbance.' Great music, like great painting, is not to be understood or comprehended, and cannot be understood or comprehended because it always already operates outside commonsense logic, narrative and illustration where intensity and instinct come together. Bacon said to Sylvester: 'You have to abbreviate into intensity.' I would like to manipulate the oil paint to give it the same solid intensity as timpani sound. To paint sound-portraits with a body blowing intensity where the paint and image are one and the same thing and where that organic unity of image and paint begin to interpret us, reform us, rethink us....Music is always already the most visual of all the arts; music is the extra-visual. Nietzsche is a composer of musical sensation - not a philosopher of words."

LP: What sounds, noises, are nearest to Bacon's nerves of paint; his paint marks, paint traces, sound bites?"

AA: "Lindberg's 'Kraft' has all those alien sounds one hears in Bacon's image-as-paint marks. Per Nørgard's Sixth Symphony, 'At the End of the Day' infers base Bacon sound-bites of an extreme bass-world employing instruments such as double-bass tuba, double-bass trombone, double-bass clarinet, and bass flute and agitated drumming. The composer described his symphony as 'rhythmically knotty' and the structure shape-shifted reforming and regenerating itself like some organic form; it certainly sounded nervously knotty sensationing the nervous system in knots at the 2002 Prom Premier. And the percussive primordial shudder in Shostakovich's 8th, 11th, and 12th Symphonies - which work directly on the nervous system by directly nailing the body into intensity negating narrative..." Vía: Alien Interview

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Más información en: www.toonpool.com y www.gallery.cz

Jessie Hartland


Jessie Hartland has illustrated numerous picture books for children, including two she wrote. Her fine artwork has been exhibited in New York, Venice, Tokyo, and elsewhere. She lives and works in New York City.

Jutta Bauer



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