‘Life is just a game played out for no reason, so there is no need one shouldn’t try to achieve everything one wants. After all, life is nothing but a series of sensations. So one may as well try and make oneself extraordinary, extraordinary and brilliant, even if it means becoming a brilliant fool like me and having the kind of disastrous life that I have had. People think my painting is very violent. But life is violent, Very violent. So perhaps my painting is very violent. My painting is a representation of life, my own life above all. The creative process is a cocktail of instinct, skill, culture and a highly creative feverishness. It’s a little like making love, the physical act of love. It can be as violent as f***ing, like an orgasm or an ejaculation. The result is often disappointing but the process is highly exciting.’
Described by critics as the greatest British painter since Turner and by Margaret Thatcher as ‘that dreadful man who paints those horrible pictures’, Francis Bacon remains one of the most challenging and controversial artists of all time. Bacon’s paintings have the power to horrify, excite, disgust, revolt and haunt. It is impossible not to react to his work.
It was probably not only the paintings that so distressed Mrs Thatcher but the man himself. Francis Bacon could spend his mornings painting, his afternoons and evenings drinking champagne and eating, and his nights roaming around Soho dressed in fishnet stockings and a long leather coat looking for ‘rough trade’. His lifestyle full of alcohol, gambling and homosexual promiscuity has created an iconic enigma.
Looking uncannily like Bacon, Pip Utton looks back on his extraordinary life as he rants at, charms, entertains and enlightens his audience swigging champagne.