For an art gallery, Tate Britain are surprisingly fond of long-copy advertising (previously).
The new campaign by Grey London is called 500 Years of Stories and focuses on the often fascinating tales behind famous works of art, without ever actually showing the paintings themselves.
This execution, describing Francis Bacon’s Triptych, is my favourite because of the way that mordant brutality of Bacon’s experiences are so clearly seen in the art itself (I’ve included the painting below, but the ad itself is just copy). The small insight into Bacon’s life gives so much context to the horror and rage inherent in his work.
The writing of the ad is punchy and to-the-point, but I’m not so sure about the art direction. I like the fact that it is quickly reminiscent of the descriptive plaques that accompany all the artworks in the Tate, but I don’t really understand the photocopy-style warping of the copy. I get the need add something more with the art direction, I just don’t know what this style is trying to say about the painting or the Tate.
Apart from that minor gripe, I really like this ad. It’s made more powerful by its refusal to do the obvious thing – show the artwork itself – and by setting the Bacon’s paintings in context it’s added a whole new level to my understanding of the work. Not bad for a few short sentences…