Inside Out

Phillips and the artist at one point discuss Francis Bacon’s studio – an object of fascination for so many that it’s preserved in its entirety in Dublin, each item carefully catalogued. The artist recalls seeing a photograph of it for the first time: “How could he find anything in all that mess? […] And his pictures are so uncluttered.” Phillips tells him he thinks the images feel claustrophobic nonetheless. The artist responds in agreement, “You feel like the figures can’t get out, but Bacon got them into it so presumably he could get them out.” While the discussion starts off with the distinction between Bacon’s messy studio (outside space) and uncluttered paintings (interior pictorial space), the conclusion reached is that Bacon’s figures can somehow move in and out of his works. While there is no chance of the figures getting out, the artist’s strange thought begs the question: whatever the limits between painted world and exterior reality, aren’t the two somehow connected? In Masterpiece, which aims to investigate an artist’s imagination, the two worlds will come to occupy one common space of the stage. The question at the moment is: how to do this?