16 Mar 2010

Deformed Through a Mirror Darkly [45] Portrait of George Dyer staring into a Mirror, 1967. Francis Bacon. Deleuze on Bacon, Painting Series

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

Deformed Through a Mirror Darkly

Francis Bacon

Portrait of George Dyer staring into a Mirror, 1967
Private collection, Caracas

Painting 31 of Deleuze's
Francis Bacon: Logique de la sensation. Tome II - Peintures
Painting [45] of the English translation
and Painting [31] of the Seuil 2002 French

If the ring or the round area is replicated in the washbasin and the umbrella, the cube or the parallelepiped is also replicated in the mirror. Bacon's mirrors can be anything you like - except a reflecting surface. The mirror is an opaque and sometimes black thickness [45] (Deleuze 2003: 13a)

Si la piste ou le rond se prolongent dans le lavabo, dans le parapluie, le cube ou le parallélépipède se prolongent aussi dans le miroir. Les miroirs de Bacon sont tout ce qu 'on veut sauf une surface qui réfléchit. Le miroir est une épaisseur opaque parfois noire [31] (Deleuze 2002: 25ab)

[Within the frame of one of Bacon's paintings, there is often another shape that encloses the figure. In this case, it is a mirror. However, Bacon has a unique sense for what a mirror does. We see in this image that the mirror is obscured by blackness, and it does not properly reflect the image of the man.

(Again I thank

In a sense, Bacon's mirrors create a deformation of the figure rather than a full resemblance.]

[The armature] can consist in the action of a very particular section of the field that we have not yet considered: the field occasionally includes a black section, sometimes quite localized (Pope No. II, 1960 [27]; Three studies for a Crucifixion, 1962 [29];Portrait of George Dyer Staring into a Mirror, 1967 [45]; Triptych, 1972 [70];Portrait of a Man Walking down Steps, 1972 [68]), (Deleuze 2003: 104c)

[l'armature peut] consister dans l'action d'une section très particulière de l'aplat que nous n'avons pas encore considérée : en effet, il arrive que l'aplat comporte une section noire, tantôt bien localisée (« Pape n° 2 » 1960 [45], « Trios études pour une crucifixion » 1962, « Portrait de George Dyer regardant fixement dans une miroir » 1967, « Triptyque » 1972, «Homme descendant l'escalier » 1972), (Deleuze 2002: 140c.d)

[Bacon's figures often are surrounded by a field made of just one color. We get the sense almost that they are floating there. Deleuze notices what serves like a sculpture's armature, propping up Bacon's figures. In this case, the black section seems to suspend the mirror's figure.]


Many large contours, for example, are treated as rugs (Man and Child, 1963 [32]; Three Studies for a Portrait of Lucian Freud, 1966 [38]; Portrait of George Dyer Staring into a Mirror, 1967 [45]), and seem to constitute a decorative regime of color. (Deleuze 2003: 106b)

et par exemple beaucoup de grands contours seront traités comme des tapis ( « Homme et Enfant » 1963, «Trois études pour un portrait de Lucian Freud »1966,«Portrait de George Dyer dans un miroir » 1968, etc.). On dirait un régime décoratif de la couleur. (Deleuze 2002: 142cd)

[The black mirror above, enclosing its figure, has an edge or contour to it. We might also say that the chair of the sitting figure has its contour. There is also a larger contour enclosing the seated figure. It is the boundary of the carpet.]

(Still more thanks

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.

Image obtained gratefully from:

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