5 – 30 November 2016
The Atemporal Mirror
5 – 30 November 2016
Opening 6pm Tuesday 8 November
The Atemporal Mirror reflects David Eastwood’s interest in posthumously reconstructed artists’ studios. Focusing on Francis Bacon’s studio, a recurring motif in this exhibition is the circular mirror dating back to Bacon’s first career as a furniture designer. Eastwood’s multilayered paintings explore the shifting contexts of Bacon’s mirror, a witness to the various phases of the artist’s workspace, from his sleek design studio in 1930 to the chaos of his painting studio from the 1960s onwards, and to its current status as a museum artefact at Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane.
Gilles Deleuze identifies the significance of mirrors within Bacon’s work, describing them as “prostheses-instruments” which extend and contort the body. There is a philosophical significance implied here, challenging the notion of a privileged, autonomous human subject. Bacon’s protagonists are typically disfigured and augmented by non-human props, and the dependence on the mirror as a prosthesis might be understood as a useful metaphor for the artist’s relationship to the studio as a contributor to the creative process.
Working towards this exhibition, Eastwood created a copy of Bacon’s blemished mirror and positioned it in his own studio opposite the easel. Disrupted reflections observed within the patinated silver have informed a corresponding approach to painting. Visual interference emerges via layers of gestural marks that act as a counterpoint to the figurative elements. Much of the imagery in the paintings is derived from archival photographs in the Francis Bacon Studio Database at The Hugh Lane. A key source of inspiration is a set of images from the 1960s featuring George Dyer, Bacon’s lover, posing in front of the studio mirror for photographer John Deakin. For Eastwood, the workspace of Francis Bacon becomes a virtual studio. Its complex historical and present-day contexts are encountered through the mirror, reimagined as an atemporal portal.