Instinct, or the Holey Space Between Thoughts, Hands, the Painted Image and a Rotting Corpse – Cade Miller

Interviewer: Have you ever thought about your dead body? You lick the burnt skin off the back of your calf late at night alone in your bedroom rubbing your nipples with a can opener. The sound meat makes when it’s cut cleanly and quickly with a large knife makes my skin crawl back to bed with yours.

Francis Bacon: Always, I have a feeling of mortality all the time. If life excites you, its opposite, like a shadow, death, must excite you. Perhaps not excite you, but you are aware of it in the same way as you are aware of life, you’re aware of it like the turn of a coin between life and death. And I’m very aware of that about people, and about myself, too, after all. I’m always surprised when I wake up in the morning.

I: I’m excited to hear that the meat industry is doing very well these days. Very well, indeed. Lots of new technological and cultural advancements and the like. Do you want to fuck your own painting in the mouth? Does the entire body escape through the screaming mouth?

FB: Well, of course, we are meat, we are potential carcasses. If I go into a butcher’s shop I always think it’s surprising that I wasn’t there instead of the animal. But using the meat in that particular way is possibly like the way one might use a fuck, because we are constantly seeing images of the human body.

I: Being ripped apart? The potential trapped within bounded fleshy space? Or is that space itself the potential? Does it hurt?

FB: You are born, you fuck, you die. What could be more violent than that? People believe that the distortions of them are an injury to them—no matter how much they feel or how much they like you. I absolutely understand this. But tell me, who today has been able to record anything that comes across to us as a fact without causing deep injury to the image?

I: We’re both liars who make meat out of space and space out of meat.

FB: But I think with great effort I’m making myself freer. The will to lose one’s will? Absolutely. The will to make oneself completely free. Will is the wrong word, because in the end you could call it despair. Because it really comes out of an absolute feeling that it’s impossible to do these things, so I might as well just do anything. And out of this anything, one sees what happens.

I: Nothing is ever going to happen. Actually none of it’s happening right now. You’re such an asshole, don’t you ever for a second think about us? That’s it. If everything is living, it’s not a name but moving. And without this living there is nothing; this living is the only matter matters. The thing itself.

FB: Not now, and less and less. You know in my case all painting is accident. I think I tend to destroy the better paintings, I try to take them further, and they lose all their qualities, and they lose everything. How can I recreate an accident? One might get another accident, but it would never be quite the same.

I: Would you like to hear a poem I wrote for you?

FB: No, of course.

I: The next morning, while I is pouring Francis some coffee,
I smiles up at him and says, “If you ever tell me
you love me without meaning it again, I’m going to build a machine
that’ll rip my heart right out of your chest.” I stands up,
placing their palm onto Francis’ sternum. “Did you hear me? Your chest.
Then I’ll throw it in our new blender.”

FB: What you’re really saying is what Wilde said: you kill the thing you love. I may be that; I don’t know. One brings the sensation and the feeling of life over the only way one can. Because one of the terrible things about so-called love is the destruction.

I: So your paintings? Their starved screams bloom into tears on my face as cold and dewy as a dead metaphor. They have cultivated my hysteric escape into the abyss of loving.

FB: I would like someday to trap a moment of life in its full violence, its full beauty. That would be the ultimate painting.