Interpreting Francis Bacon's Work through Contemporary Digital Media: Pedagogical Practices in University Contexts

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Conference Proceedings
Authors: Cláudia LimaSusana BarretoRodrigo Carvalho

Abstract: This paper describes two pedagogical practices based on Francis Bacon’s graphic Works. One in a curricular context, held at Escola Superior Artística do Porto, and the other in an extracurricular context held at Universidade Lusófona do Porto (both in Portugal), which aimed to stimulate students towards a critical analysis and interpretation of Francis Bacon's work and its recreation using contemporary digital media. This initiative was integrated in the Graphic Works of Francis Bacon exhibition at the World of Wine Museum in Vila Nova de Gaia and was the result of a collaboration between this Museum, the Academy and the Renschdael Art Foundation, a collaboration that aimed to give voice and life to a debate emerging from the exhibition of the work of art and its multimedia translation. Hence, it was intended to complement the exhibition of the artist's works with a multimedia language, through multiple interpretations and digital animations of the Painter's work made by the students and targeted at digital natives as one stream of the exhibition was to target local primary and secondary schools.The participants involved in this project came from various BAs, including Communication Design, Fine Arts and Intermediate, Visual Arts - Photography, Cinema and Audiovisual, Audiovisual Communication and Multimedia, Video Games and Multimedia Applications. This allowed to bring together multidisciplinary groups of students with different profiles and backgrounds, contributing to a myriad of results both in visual terms and technological resources, which included approaches such as: the use of techniques close to rotoscoping in which students created drawings frame by frame over the original images; the exploration of cut-out animation techniques; the recreation of Francis Bacon's work in 3D; explorations of image manipulation, editing, and video effects.In an academic context, these practices resulted in an in-depth knowledge of the work of an artist from a generation different from that of the students; an opportunity for them to work with a real client, applying in a project the knowledge obtained in various curricular units of the BAs they are attending; and the possibility of seeing their work integrated in an international exhibition. As regards to the Graphic Works of Francis Bacon exhibition, this academic project brought a new dynamic to the space combining graphic works by the Painter with multiple interpretations of a generation to whom digital media are omnipresent.In this paper, the pedagogical practices adopted in both Universities are described, projects by students are analyzed as well as the contribution that these projects brought to the exhibition through information gathered from visitors, from articles published on the event and through an interview conducted with the exhibition curator.The exhibition, according to the commissioner, Charlotte Crapts, had an "impressive" turnover bearing in mind that the country was going through Covid restrictions. In the commissioner’s view, the multimedia interventions created a bridge with the educational sector and following this, the exhibition interacted with a great number of youngsters. This was a pioneer exercise in the exhibition space that will be followed in future exhibitions.

Keywords: Francis Bacon, Design Education, Digital Art, Museum Exhibition, Learning Experiences

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1001420

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