22 Mar 2010

Pinned to Black [44] Francis Bacon: Three Studies of the Human Body, 1967. Deleuze on Bacon, Painting Series

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

Pinned to Black

Francis Bacon: Three Studies of the Human Body, 1967
Private Collection
(Thanks very much sound--vision.blogspot.com)

Painting 24 of Deleuze's Francis Bacon: Logique de la sensation. Tome II - Peintures
Painting [44] of the English translation, and
Painting [24] of the Seuil 2002 French

It often seems that the flat fields of color curl around the Figure, together constituting a shallow depth, forming a hollow volume, determining a curve, an isolating track or ring [...]. This kind of situation finds its equivalent only in theater [...] or else it is found in visions of bodies plunging in a black tunnel. But if these fields of color press toward the Figure, the Figure in turn presses outward, trying to pass and dissolve through the fields. Already we have here the role of the spasm, or of the scream: the entire body trying to escape, to flow out of itself. (Deleuze 2003: xiii b)

[We find Bacon's figures often immersed in a same-colored field. In this case, it is black. The field presses-in on the bodily figures. Their insides want to escape. In any instant, the bodies express the forces wrestling within them, producing an instantaneous spasm or scream.]

[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]), sometimes even flowing (Triptych, 1973 [73]), and sometimes total or constituting the entire field (Three Studies from the Human Body, 1967 [44]). (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), tantôt même débordante (« Triptyque » 1973), tantôt totale ou constituant tout l'aplat (« Trois études d'après le corps human » 1967). (Deleuze 2002: 140c.d)

[Sculptures may have a support structure called an armature. According to Deleuze, there is often something in Bacon's paintings that holds-up the figures in a similar way. They often seem suspended midair in a monochromatic field. In this case, the field is black. It is as though the bottom figures are fixed to this field as if it were an armature of some sort.]

(Let me again thank sound--vision.blogspot.com)

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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