September 4: Hotel Bacon

In many of the paintings of Francis Bacon, especially the later ones, there are what appear to be glass cases or pods that enclose key figures in the drama of the painting. You may see an agonist slumped over a toilet seat or a sink unit, sometimes almost melded into the white armitage shanks porcelain so that they are one with the fixtures, and around them a clinical transparent box. It is something that has come into the world of contemporary theatre. The glass box is now a cliche of metropolitan production. I have seen countless Jacobean tragedies with on-stage murders taking place in a glass case where literally nobody hears you scream. Yesterday I spent the night in an unnervingly ill-conceived Bacon hotel in the town of Bedford. The modernisation of the rooms took the form of the installation into rooms of a glass pod for a toilet, through whose mildly frosted glass you could be observed and heard (there was a round hole the size of a big fist in the door) urinating and defecating. Add to this the fact that I was in the final stages of my recovery from a particularly violent case of food poisoning and you can imagine the fun. The tryptic of Hotel customer with bathroom fixtures will soon be up for auction at Sotheby’s. Reserve price £61 million.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s