11 Mar 2010

Sensations of Couples Copulating [69] Triptych, Three Studies of Figures on Beds, 1972 Francis Bacon. Deleuze on Bacon Painting Series

by Corry Shores
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Credits given at the end.]

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

Sensations of Couples Copulating


Francis Bacon

Triptych, Three Studies of Figures on Beds, 1972
Private Collection, San Francisco

Painting 76 of Deleuze's
Francis Bacon: Logique de la sensation. Tome II - Peintures
Painting [69] of the English translation
and Painting [76] of the Seuil 2002 French

Such is the case here, where the coupling of sensations from different levels creates the coupled Figure (and not the reverse). What is painted is the sensation. There is a beauty to these entangled Figures [69]. They do not merge with each other, but are rendered indiscernible by the extreme precision of the lines, which acquire a kind of autonomy in relation to the body, like a diagram whose lines would bring together nothing but sensation. [footnote 1] (Deleuze 2003: 46d)

C'est bien le cas ici, où l'accouplement des sensation à niveaux différents fait la Figure accouplée (et non; l'inverse). Ce qui est peint, c'est la sensation. Beauté de ces Figures mêlées [76]. Elles ne sont pas confondues, mais rendues indiscernables par l'extrême précision des lignes qui acquièrent une sorte d'autonomie par rapport aux corps : comme dans un diagramme dont les lignes n'uniraient que des sensations [note 59]. (Deleuze 2002: 29bc.c)

[Bacon was concerned with the sensation his paintings gave us. He wanted us to feel it directly. In a sense, he wanted to paint the sensation itself. Deleuze says that one way Bacon intensifies sensations is by coupling them. And he does this by coupling figures, which each give us their own sensation. All the while they are forced together. Their boundaries are made indiscernible. One way he did so was by depicted copulating bodies mangled and tangled together. To mess them together, their deformation is built around irrational marks. Deleuze calls these marks diagrams, because Bacon reads them like a diagram to see how to develop the painting into a multitude of coexisting but incompatible lines of development.]

(For the above images, 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.

Images obtained gratefully from:
Thanks Ian Daniels

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