On Sunday I enjoyed a Francis Bacon exhibition, unlike many of the people attending. Why does the gallery offer those dreadful audio tours? I wouldn't enjoy myself either if I had to learn!
Bacon is surely one of the greatest portrait painters. His portraits reveal more than the subject. He is like Leonardo, whose portraits show us renaissance thought and renaissance obsessions; and like Renoir, whose subjects come to us shrouded in the whole Impressionist philosophy.
Though Bacon is bigger. He took a step back, so we see neither the artist nor the 20th century. We see only Life. All is living and moving and rotting on the canvas.
So why do so many people choose to use the horrible audio tour?
What mystery do they think eludes them? What information do they think could enhance their experience? They treat the paintings as dusty works of history rather than vibrant works of art. They ruin the experience for themselves by trying to gather facts.
The art says all that needs to be said. The Life-Death monstrosity is there in the portraits. Death is not the opposite of Life - Learning is.
Abolish audio tours!
Jung said that religion stops an individual from having a religious experience. Could it be that a gallery stops people from seeing Art, even though it lets them see the paintings?
Art will always exist, as long as people say No to being educated.