Francis Bacon: Invisible Rooms

Francis Bacon: Invisible Rooms

Portrait of Francis Bacon by John Deakin c. 1962
Gelatin silver print
640 x 515 mm

Tate Liverpool will present the largest Francis Bacon exhibition ever staged in the north of England this summer.

Featuring approximately 30 paintings alongside a group of rarely seen drawings and documents the exhibition re-examines one of Britain’s greatest modern painters.

With a career spanning more than 50 years the artwork of Francis Bacon (1909 – 1992) has been exhibited extensively in London and Europe as well as America and Asia. From 18 May –18 September 2016 Francis Bacon: Invisible Rooms, will continue in Tate Liverpool’s tradition of bringing internationally renowned artists to the city.

Francis Bacon, the Irish-born British figurative painter, is widely considered a major figure of 20th-century art.  Many of his iconic paintings feature architectural, ghost-like frames around his subjects. Francis Bacon: Invisible Rooms addresses some of Bacon’s most powerful works with a renewed focus on this architectural structure and will be the first exhibition dedicated to the exploration of this recurring motif.

Introduced into his work at the beginning of his career in the 1930s, Bacon used a barely visible cubic or elliptic cage around the figures depicted to create his dramatic compositions. The exhibition surveys the development of Bacon’s paintings united by this common motif and features work from across Europe as well as America, including Triptych Inspired by T.S. Eliot's 'Sweeney Agonistes' 1967 (Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden), Chimpanzee 1955 (Staatsgalerie Stuttgart) and Untitled (Kneeling Figure) c. 1982 (Private Collection).


This major summer exhibition continues Tate Liverpool’s practice of re-thinking celebrated major artists, throwing new light on their work. Francis Bacon is the latest among a list of artists for whom new perspectives have been offered including Jackson Pollock, Piet Mondrian, Andy Warhol, and Marc Chagall. 

Also exhibited will be the first retrospective in the UK of Austrian artist Maria Lassnig (1919 – 2014).  Exhibitions of both Francis Bacon and Maria Lassnig form the gallery’s summer 2016 season. The season brings two of the most important figurative painters of the 20th century into dialogue over fundamental themes of the staging of the figure, the translation of bodily sensations in paint, and the process of artistic creation, whether painting from life in the case of Lassnig, or from photography and found images as Bacon did. 


Francesco Manacorda, Artistic Director, Tate Liverpool said: ‘Tate Liverpool is proud of its long tradition of bringing renowned artists to the city.  Some key works have already been secured for the exhibition and we’re thrilled that we are showing a major Bacon show in the north of England for the first time. Not only this but we are also offering new interpretations of Bacon’s work, giving fresh insights into one of Britain’s greatest painters.’

Francis Bacon: Invisible Rooms is curated by Kasia Redzisz, Senior Curator and Lauren Barnes, Assistant Curator, Tate Liverpool with Ina Conzen, Curator and Deputy Director, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart. Organised by Tate Liverpool in collaboration with Staatsgalerie Stuttgart. Francis Bacon: Invisible Rooms will tour to Staatsgalerie Stuttgart (7 October 2016 – 8 January 2017).

Francis Bacon: Invisible Rooms

Tate Liverpool
18 May – 18 September 2016

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