Armistice 1918, challenge for the survivors


Contemplating. The controversial work of Francis Bacon forces us to face the most cruel suffering. Perhaps it is necessary to look through this pictorial violence to the cry of a humanity pierced by the tragic history of the twentieth century.

While celebrating the Sunday of the centenary of the end of the First World War, let us not forget that the year 1918 was not just an end; for millions of soldiers and families, began the long trial of a daily life, certainly returned in peace, but forever different; the ordeal of the "broken mouths" and the souls broken by the four terrible years of hell would never allow our Western world to return to the optimism of the Belle Epoque.

To cling to Life, our world would soon be inebriated by all possible excesses to forget the missing, the torn faces and the moral disillusionment.

Bacon, pierced by his century

"The smell of human blood does not leave my eyes", this line of Aeschylus, which conveys Bacon's obsessions so well, is probably emblematic of the life of a twentieth-century child. Born in 1909 and died in 1992, Francis Bacon, a man tormented by a painful family history, develops a fascination for violence and carnal animality lurking under Civilization.

"11-11: Memories Retold", the Great War to praise peace

A great admirer of the paintings by Velasquez, Van Gogh and Picasso, the English artist is easily provocative. It would be dishonest to present it as a disenchanted original. When he says: "We are meat, are not we?"does not it send us all to compromises that sometimes lead us to reduce our brothers to the sacrificed flesh?

No historian can deny that the two world wars have produced immense anguish in the hearts of men; Progress, without a moral judgment at its height, was revealed as an accelerator of ruin.

Self-portrait of a wounded civilization

This torn and sewn face should not be too quickly returned to a complicated and morbid soul. This self-portrait adds to the gallery of broken mouths that have been populating our forgotten everyday for decades.

Work is not a cubist, it does not try to open new aesthetic perspectives; it is frontal, direct, surprisingly realistic. In its brutality, it is so unbearable that Bacon saves us a direct look; do not fix us, look slightly to our left.

Have you ever met the elusive gaze of one of those disfigured men, suffering the fear or disgust they inspired? Be that as it may, this portrait, carved into the craters of the shell and sealed with a closed mouth, reminds us that the mystery of the human person often appears as a disconcerting enigma for those who flee him.

The traits of a troubled soul

"For the tormented souls, their sister": this dedication of the poet Marie Noël on the first page of her Intimate Notes, says a lot about the bonds of blood that mysteriously unite artists when they are confronted with evil.

The new faces of the war

Nothing in them gives rise to indifference and when they see the work of death in their own flesh or in their soul, they feel in solidarity with all of humanity in search of meaningless meaning. Often they feel nothing more in them than an indigence to which they are condemned to attract man and his mystery (see Mk 12, 38-44).

Arnaud Montoux


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