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Home Events Iain Sinclair interview: on the lives of John Deakin, Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud

Iain Sinclair interview: on the lives of John Deakin, Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud

by News Room
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There are names we know well — the likes of Francis Bacon, Lucien Freud, Frank Auerbach, Muriel Belcher and Jeffrey Bernard — and there are countless we don’t. Despite capturing the aforementioned figures in their element, immortalising them and Old Soho forevermore, John Deakin is the latter. And it’s this same John Deakin who inspired writer, film-maker and social commentator Iain Sinclair’s new book, Pariah Genius, released last week alongside an exhibition of the photographer’s work at Swedenborg House in Bloomsbury, and soon to be followed by a short film premiering at the Barbican on 30 May. Part truth, part fiction and part work of psycho-geography, the book, Sinclair says, is ‘a mythology of the man rather than a straightforward biography’. The reason? For the most part, the details of Deakin’s life are a mystery. ‘I was very interested in this character, John Deakin, because he was the sort of unreliable witness to the whole (old Soho) scene and took portraits of Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, and captured their connection to some of the London underworld. John is really the key witness to this period. So much was being photographed by this guy and yet nobody knew too much about him.’

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