26 Feb 2010

Labor Contractions [66] Deleuze on Bacon, Painting Series

by Corry Shores
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[I am profoundly grateful to the sources of these images:
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[The following is quotation. My commentary is bracketed in red.]

Labor Contractions

Francis Bacon

Two Men Working in a Field, 1970
Private Collection, Japan

Painting 5 of Deleuze's
Francis Bacon: Logique de la sensation. Tome II - Peintures
Painting [66] of the English translation
and Painting [53] of the Seuil 2002 French

Even the two peasants in Two Men Working in a Field [66] form a Figure only in relation to an awkward plot of land, tightly confined within the oval of a pot. (Deleuze 2003: 1c)

Mais même les deux paysans ne forment une Figure que par rapport à une terre empotée, étroitement contenue dans l'ovale d'un pot [53]. (Deleuze 2002: 11b)

Coupled figures have always been a part of Bacon's work, but they do not tell a story [60, 61, 66]. (Deleuze 2003: 2d)

Bacon n'a pas cessé de faire des Figures accouplées, qui ne racontent aucune histoire [1, 2, 53]. (Deleuze 2002: 12d)

[Bacon's figures are often coupled. Sometimes their bodies are tangled and intertwined. In this painting, what contracts them together is the common pot that they are both tending-to side-by-side. But even though they are together, we are unable to tell a story to explain their relations. Without any mental means to grasp the coupled figures, we are forced to process them all on the level of our body's sensations.]

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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