After Bacon by Mitchel Platnic

Living Bacon’s distorted world

In this project Michel Platnic gives life to the distorted dreams and expressions of Francis Bacon, as discovered through careful inspection and analysis of several of Bacon’s painting masterpieces.

The series is inspired by 4 paintings of Francis Bacon and 1 triptych. From each work will result a life-size installation, a video and a photograph. Each installation explores in the real world the temporality, geometric rules, movements and distortions Bacon imagined in his paintings.

Each tridimensional set serves as décor for the videos and photographs and will include 1 or several human models. In the videos, each character will take the figure position of the corresponding Bacon painting; he will live in his newly constructed world. The photographs will capture the movements of the model and unveil the details of the set made of paintings and sculptures created by Platnic. The photographs will be printed and framed to match the size of the original Bacon painting.

Documentation of a possible reality
Platnic relives scenes while creating anachronistic encounters with the spectator. The essence of each medium is questioned, borders between them become unclear. His main concern is the illusion of perception we have from our environment, or in this case, the paintings themselves. The human body holds a primary role in his works; it is in fact the only possible platform mediator of the experience.

Platnic does not paint objects, spaces or people; he paints on them, the physical world becomes a tool, or the expression of one manifestation among plenty of other concurrent ones. The real world in Platnic’s works goes through manipulations; physical dimensions may be altered or recreated to be eventually filmed or photographed. The result is a documentation of a possible reality.
The work process is an important part of Platnic’s creation. All works are first modeled using sketches, mathematical calculations and three-dimensional software. Constructions remain often inaccessible until the very last moment of the filming day where the décor, models and camera come together simultaneously.

Giving Life to Bacon’s paintings
The paintings that inspired Platnic for this new series were painted by Bacon between of the late 1960s to the 1990s. In 1974 he said “I would like […] to make the painting itself very much more sculptural” . The construction of the space and default of perspective in this period are very dominant in his paintings. The characters are isolated and explore the surrounding space. The only spectacle is a character waiting or being in physical effort.

Each video or photograph recreates the subtle movements of the characters, changes of light, interpretation of perspective, optical organizations of the planes to render the depth of the scene, and the treatment of the colors. Each one of the 5 works will focus on a different particularity of Bacon’s imagined scenes.
The installations will combine various media such as painting on canvas, metal, mirrors, wood, plastic, sculptures, and body painting. Depending on the works, models will be either nude or with clothes and painted.

From Phantasm to Reality
Francis Bacon almost never worked directly from the model but rather on his visual recall and feelings, often supported by photographs. He did not work from drawings or sketches; the actual texture, color and the paint movement was immediate and unpredictable. “You just don’t know […] how the image is made up […] because it is [a] complete accident.”

Several years later, Bacon said: “What I want to do is to distort the thing far beyond the appearance, but in the distortion to bring it back to a recording of the appearance” Bacon was concerned with the nature of painting and in making the idea and the technique inseparable. Image and paint are interlocked so that the image is the painting and vice versa . He took his works away from the original photograph because to him they were reproductions; they reduce sensation to a basic level .

In reference to Bacon’s artistic process, Platnic gets closer to the psychic mechanism of human perception and memory, the transition mechanisms that link imagination to reality. Winnicott describes the phantasm as an isolated and dissociated phenomenon that does participate neither to life nor to the dream. The consciousness may bring the act of phantasmatisation to imagination and then link it to reality.

This act of Bacon served to bring back his works to reality by giving them a recording of the appearance, which is what Platnic pursues in his works by creating a physical existence in a three dimensional world.

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The spectator experience

Bacon framed all his paintings using a glass in front of the canvas. In his opinion, the glass helps to unify the pictures and creates a distance between the painting and the onlooker. “This thing [the painting] is shut away from the spectator” .
Platnic brings the works closer to the spectator. The exhibition space will include videos screen, photographs and video installations. Each video will include imaginary sound of the space. During the exhibition all video sounds will be heard simultaneously to create a new space, the one of the visitor. The onlooker shall experience the works from within the space.

Michel Platnic - 'After' - Backstage Documentary from Michel Platnic on Vimeo.


Michel Platnic ·

Exhibited works from the collection