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Scholarcast 10: Dust and Debitage: An Archaeology of Francis Bacon's Studio

UCD Scholarcast - Series 2: Archaeologies of Art: Papers from the Sixth World Archaeological Congress

Education

This short paper offers a personal reflection based on the author’s involvement in the reconstruction phase of the Francis Bacon studio project. During this project, archaeologists were employed to deconstruct or ‘excavate’ the contents of Francis Bacon’s painting studio in London, and meticulously reconstruct the room at Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane. The studio had long been renowned for its wondrously chaotic contents, its floor strewn with the debris of his creative practice, and its walls - which played the role of artist’s pallete - embellished with vibrant pigments. The paper draws on ‘rubbish theory’ relating to the aesthetics of industrial ruins exemplified in the work of Tim Edensor. This research provides a way of exploring why Bacon may have found working in the archaeological equivalent of a ‘midden’ both an efficacious and enjoyable process.


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