Perry Ogden’s photographs are invaluable documentation of Francis Bacon’s studio at 7 Reese Mews in London, where he resided until his death in 1992. The studio was recently relocated wholesale and reconstructed in the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art in Dublin, to which John Edwards donated the studio in 1998. Ogden’s colour photographs, taken while the studio was still in London, comprise a book describing the studio’s relocation, put out last year by Thames & Hudson, and now this suite of photographs is on view at Shafrazi Gallery. The studio proper, as captured by Ogden, is strewn with clues to the painter’s inspiration and daily existence—paint brushes sprout willy-nilly from old butter bean and caper cans; two medical photos of herpes simplex victims abut cardboard boxes and a pair of ice skates; a snapshot of a youthful Mick Jagger shares space with a political biography of Karl Marx. The randomness is delicious, a real-world version of messy installation art like that of Jason Rhoades. Books piled among the debris document Bacon’s artistic inspiration: monographs on Munch, Rodin and, of course, Velázquez; a volume on Egyptian art with a fragment of a head on its cover. All that is missing is Bacon himself, and he, as well as his ill-fated lover, George Dyer, are present in crumpled photos within photos, on the littered floor. Other photos document Bacon’s spartan kitchen, with studies tacked to its walls, the bare lightbulbs hanging in his bedroom, and even—a spooky touch—a few crumpled towels clinging to the rim of his bathtub.
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Perry Ogden, “Photographs, 7 Reece Mews, Francis Bacon’s Studio”'