Flesh & Bone

by Lucinda Poulsen


Francis Bacon & Henry Moore: Flesh & Bone

My Experience going to see the private Exhibition:

This was the first museum to compare the work of British painter and sculpture of 20th century. Occasionally they exhibited together but they were never close and their careers have not been linked till now.

As I made my way into the Gallery I noticed how free and open the floor was and I didn’t feel secluded. I looked around and there was Francis Bacon and Henry Moore’s work intertwined, you didn’t see where Francis’ work finished and Moore’s started. This reflected how the exhibition Flesh & Bone revealed similarities and differences in their work. Even though the pieces dominated the exhibition there was a lot of graphic communication around to help viewers come to their own opinion about both the artists work. This included written analyses about each work, an over view of the exhibition and a leaflet handed to us whilst we entered.

Bacon and Moore’s works have affected me considerably and I admire their development on war and death to reimage the human body. The atmosphere of the gallery made me delve deeper into the emotions of the work, mostly because of the intertwined works shown in ‘Flesh and Bone.’

The leaflet helped me to travel around the gallery and understand how each piece linked to each artists time period. The leaflet reflected the exhibition well and I even felt like the use of colour in the leaflet communicated the idea of the ‘Flesh and Bone’ well. The structure of the leaflet works very well with the exhibition and the titles, text, photos and space portray both Bacon and Moore’s work well.

Bacon and Moore’s work has a lot of similarities because of their link of experiences that have influenced them. Bacon served in the air raid precaution and Moore saw active service in the blitz of the First World War, this influenced both artists to reimage the human body. Bacons sketches show damage, hurt and broken bodies which he had witnessed in the war. He documented his work in sketchbooks and I feel these were developments of an outcome but a development of something of a larger scale. This is something Bacon was passionate about, making the human body life sized even with reimaging his work. The biggest similarity that was compared to each artist was their ability to restore the body but not to perfection. They both liked to play around with the body not being whole to represent isolation and suffering. Bacon and Moore are conscious of mortality, they both convey irrepressible life and this shows through there work of the human body. Bacon works from the outside in and Moore inside out but they both experimented with disintegrating and dissolving forms and pushing anatomical structures. Structure to the surface – flesh and bone.

In the second part of the artist careers they adapted the others idiom. Bacon began working more with plastic and sculpture based works whilst Moore became more fluid and painterly, modelled in plaster before castering his sculptures in bronze. This shows how both artists developed each other’s craft and experimented with something they were less familiar with. Bacon even said he would have liked lessons of Moore so he could complete his vision of endurance survival where both artists refer to myth. I like how they symbolise muscle and bone and the idea of bones pushing through from within, this is why it seemed necessary to call the exhibition ‘Flesh and Bone’ because it is a clear link between each of the artists work.