11 Feb 2010

Density & Involuntarity [5] Head II, 1949. Deleuze on Bacon, Painting Series.

by Corry Shores
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[The following is quotation. My commentary is bracketed in red.]

Density & Involuntarity

Francis Bacon

Head II, 1949

Painting 11 of Deleuze's
Francis Bacon: Logique de la sensation. Tome II - Peintures
Painting [5] of the English translation
and Painting [11] of the Seuil 2002 French

What fills the rest of the painting will be neither a landscape as the correlate of the Figure, nor a ground from which the form will emerge, nor a formless chiaroscuro, a thickness of color on which shadows would play, a texture on which variation would play. Yet we are moving ahead too quickly. For there are indeed, in Bacon's early works, landscape-Figures like the Van Gogh of 1957 [23]; there are extremely shaded textures, as in Figure in a Landscape (1945) [2] and Figure Study I (1945-6) [4]; there are thicknesses and densities like those of Head II (1949) [5] (Deleuze, 2003: 3b.c)

Ce qui remplit le reste du tableau, ce ne sera pas un paysage comme corrélat de la figure, ni un fond dont surgirait la forme, ni un informel, clair-obscur, épaisseur de la couleur où se joueraient les ombres, texture où se jouerait la variation. Nous allons trop vite pourtant. Il y a bien, ou début de l'oeuvre, des Figures-paysages comme le Van Gogh de 1957 ; il y a des textures extrêmement nuancées, comme « Figure dans un Paysage » ou « Figure étude I », de 1945 ; il y a des épaisseurs et densités comme la « Tête II » de 1949 (Deleuze, 2002: 13d)

[In Bacon's later works, we often find the figures laid fixed to a homogeneous single-colored field. (see his Figure at a Washbasin, for example). Yet in this work, there is a thick and dense background, like a heavy curtain that is bunched together.

But we see that the paint is a bit smeared and scraped. This is an early form of what later will be Bacon's asignifying traits and involuntary free marks.]

Deleuze, Gilles. Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation. Transl. Daniel W. Smith. London/New York: Continuum, 2003.

Deleuze, Gilles. Francis Bacon: Logique de la sensation. Paris: Seuil, 2002.

Deleuze, Gilles. Francis Bacon: Logique de la sensation. Tome II - Peintures. Paris: Editions de la différence [Littératures], 1981.

Images obtained gratefully from:

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