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The exhibition Flesh and Soul will feature key works by both giants of modern figurative art during Seoul Art Week.

Christie’s to Show Bacon and Ghenie Works Worth $445m in Seoul

Adrian Ghenie, Lidless Eye (2015). Oil on canvas. 50.2 x 40 cm. Courtesy Christie's.

After an inaugural run in Hong Kong in May, Christie's and HomeArt are bringing Flesh And Soul: Bacon/Ghenie to Seoul. It is the first time works by Francis Bacon and Adrian Ghenie have been shown together in Korea.

The not-for-auction exhibition will run from 3 to 5 September at BOONTHESHOP in Cheongdam, and will be free and open to the public.

Worth a combined $US 440 million, the 16 artworks on show include museum-worthy specimens of some of the artists' most iconic series.

Christie's Asia Pacific Deputy Chairman and International Director Elaine Holt said the show highlights 'the visceral tension and haunting energy that Bacon and Ghenie both so brilliantly capture through their manipulation of paint.'

British painter Francis Bacon (1909-1992), the older of the two by a generation, became a stalwart of Modern 20th century figurative painting in Britain and beyond. His semi-abstract paintings induced shock and anxieties around the human condition.

Francis Bacon, Study for Portrait II (1953). Oil on canvas. 152.7 cm x 116.9 cm.

Francis Bacon, Study for Portrait II (1953). Oil on canvas. 152.7 cm x 116.9 cm.

In 2008, art critic Robert Hughes described Bacon as a, 'painter of buggery, sadism, dread and death-vomit,' who has become, 'the toughest, the most implacable, lyric artist in late 20th-century England, perhaps in all the world.'

Bacon's works in Flesh And Soul include examples of his infamous Papal paintings such as Study for Portrait II (1953), and Study for a Pope I (1961). These transgressive, screaming, disintegrating interpretations of Diego Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X (1650) propelled Bacon to renown from the 1950s.

Bacon's works are set up in conversation with those by Romanian-born contemporary artist Adrian Ghenie (b. 1997). Ghenie, who was greatly inspired by Bacon, rapidly rose to international prominence in the late 2000s with his semi-abstract paintings that draw upon art history and dark historical states of mind.

To Bacon's bloodied cow carcasses, and screaming popes, Ghenie brings notorious tyrants—Lenin, Stalin, Nicolae Ceausescu, and Josef Mengele—and some groundbreaking figures like Charles Darwin, and Marcel Duchamp.

Working freely and forcefully applying paint with a palette knife, Ghenie's depiction of figures whose faces melt-away under a veneer of painterly abstraction, can be compared with Bacon's disintegrating subjects.

Among Ghenie's works in Flesh and Soul are the paintings Lidless Eye (2015), a homage to his artist hero Vincent van Gogh, and The Collector 3 (2008), which depicts the infamous Nazi and art plunderer Hermann Göring surrounded by the artworks he so desired.

Both artists take viewers to dark psychological places while remaining visually engaging in their forceful, expressive and theatrical application of paint.'Curating their work side-by-side opens a window into the heart of a myriad of themes — love and intimacy, power and oppression, cultural icons, and the tropes of war,' said Holt.

Flesh And Soul will show during Seoul Art Week, coinciding with Kiaf SEOUL and the inaugural Frieze Seoul. —[O]

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