What A Mess! Francis Bacon Exhibition – Dublin

The Dublin City Gallery is an art gallery operated by Dublin City Council and its subsidiary the Hugh Lane Gallery Trust, entry is free, making it a great little place to add to your list of things to do in Dublin on a budget. They always seem to have a lot on, so I think whatever time you go will be a good time to see something of interest. Established in 1908 by Sir Hugh Lane, on their website they quote their collection as “a focus on modern and contemporary art and excellence in Irish art practice”.

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I hadn’t been expecting much, but I thoroughly enjoy the exhibits at The Dublin City Gallery. The collections were all laid out very well, and you easily walk from one room to the other, following the collections as they shift and change, leading from more classical style oil paintings to more quirky and experimental pieces.

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One of the highlights of the work housed in The Dublin City Gallery was the infamous Francis Bacon Exhibition, an installation where Francis Bacon’s art studio was recreated in a small space to be viewed, and what a mess! I loved it…

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It was so chaotically beautiful in all the glory you would expect from an artist such as Bacon, framed perfectly by the characteristic famous quotes that gave some context to the mess.

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I stood there for ages, looking from every angle, taking in all the messy details, from the pages of yellowing newspaper on the wooden floor to the myriad of colours sprayed, flicked and painted on the walls; the mirror with th wrought iron frame, the bare hanging lightbulb, the endless pots of paint and paint brushes sticking out of the debris.

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It had this strange magic that I couldn’t help but be fascinated by. As a writer, I knew how it felt, all too well, to have an overly clustered mind. When I was younger I loved to draw, but was too afraid to get messy and experiment with paints. I couldn’t help but feel a tingle of sensation, imagining if I had a studio space of my own to just let rip all of my creative juices in, unafraid and unapologetic to make a mess.

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Some people may just look at such a mess, shrug, and move on to the end of the exhibition. But if you’re a creative person, or you’re fascinated by the inner workings of a creative, then I’m sure you’ll love it just as much as I did.

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