Lacuna: An Interpretation

Below is a list of definitions of the word Lacuna that resonated with me:

1 an unfilled space; a gap

• a missing portion in a book or manuscript.

2 Anatomy a cavity or depression, especially in bone.

3 an extended silence in a piece of music

ORIGIN mid 17th cent.: from Latin, ‘pool’, from lacus ‘lake’.

Collating all three, I’ve come to understand Lacuna as a form of nomadicity – of slipping in and out of voids, and in a sense a silent patrimony that comes in terms of imagery as a state of hyper-reality present in the abstraction of form and pagan knowledge.

To decipher this somewhat loose definition, I honed in on the creative practice of artist Francis Bacon who conceives a disjointed and arguably more realistic image of human anatomy through a state of lacuna, or rather, a hyper-real state of sensation.

“Illustrational form tells you immediately what the form is about, whereas non-illustrational form works first on your sensibility, then gradually leaks back into fact. So that if you’re very lucky, if this sort of accidental thing works for you, you see for a moment how you might be able to bring off this image outside illustration which makes it both a recording of appearance and something that unlocks sensation about life more deeply”

“What I long to do is to undercut all the anecdotes and story-telling yet make an image filled with implications. Make it more specific, yes, but at the same time more general. A kind of concentration that makes it more general. I’ve always believed that great art comes out of reinventing and concentrating what’s called fact, what we know of our existence – a reconcentration that tears away the veils that fact, or truth if you like, acquires over time..” Francis Bacon.

It is this nomadic form of reinterpretation that I believe lies at the heart of Lacuna. For me, Lacuna is this gap in pagan fact and anecdotes, that when scrutinised through abstraction forms a reconcentrated state of reality. Lacuna is a silent legacy that is lost through time, a heightened sense of knowledge or reality that only becomes present through true expression and abstraction of generalised authenticity.

Lacuna is the void, or rather the moment in which reality is tested and warped, culminating (through scrutinised imagery and physical realness) a knowledge or state more accurate than the accepted norm.


Peppiatt, M. 2015. ‘Francis Bacon In Your Blood – A Memoir’, Bloomsbury, London.


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