4 Apr 2010

Blending Isolated Conventions [10] Francis Bacon: Study for Crouching Nude, 1952. Deleuze on Bacon, Painting Series

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

Blending Isolated Conventions

Francis Bacon

Study for Crouching Nude, 1952

Painting 62 of Deleuze's
Francis Bacon: Logique de la sensation. Tome II - Peintures
Painting [10] of the English translation
and Painting [62] of the Seuil 2002 French

At its simplest, the position behind the curtains is combined perfectly with the position on the ring, bar, or parallelepiped, in a Figure that is not only isolated, stuck, and contracted, but also abandoned, escaping, evanescent, and confused, as in the 1952 Study for Crouching Nude [10]. (Deleuze 2003: 22ab)

Au plus simple, la position derrière les rideaux se conjugue parfaitement avec la position sur piste, sur barre ou parallélépipède, pour une Figure isolée, collée, contractée, mais également abandonnée, échappée, évanescente, confondue : ainsi l'« Étude pour un nu accroupi » de 1952 [62]. (Deleuze 2002: 35c)

David Sylvester analyzes three general phases in the development of Francis Bacon's style. In the first one, the figure and background were both rendered in a fairly clear way. In the second 'malerisch' period, the figure and background were both made blurry, seemingly obscured by window shades. Then in the third phase, the figure is indeterminate while the background is clear. So in this last period, the two opposite conventions of the first two are brought together, the clarity of the backgrounds in the first phase, with the malerisch figures of the second. And while in the first and second phases, the figure and background were both of the same nature, in the third, they are 'violently juxtaposed', which isolates the figure from the field.

Deleuze's point is that the second period did not contradict the first one as much as it added to this predecessor. And the synthesis of the first two was already to be found in the second phase. What we see in this painting is that the figure on the one hand is blurred, indeterminate, and trying to escape into the field, and yet it is also isolated from the field, by being enclosed in a box.

(And thank you too newhumanist.org.uk)

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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