Gilles Deleuze was one of the most influential and revolutionary philosophers of the twentieth century. Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation is his long-awaited work on Bacon,widely regarded as one of the most radical painters of the twentieth century.The book presents a deep engagement with Bacon's work and the nature of art. Deleuze analyzes the distinctive innovations that came to mark Bacon's style: the isolation of the figure, the violation deformations of the flesh, the complex use of color, the method of chance, and the use of the triptych form. Along the way, Deleuze introduces a number of his own famous concepts, such as the 'body without organs' and the 'diagram,' and contrasts his own approach to painting with that of both the phenomenological and the art historical traditions.Deleuze links Bacon's work to CTzanne's notion of a 'logic' of sensation, which reaches its summit in color and the 'coloring sensation.' Investigating this logic, Deleuze explores Bacon's crucial relation to past painters such as Velasquez, CTzanne, and Soutine, as well as Bacon's rejection of expressionism and abstract painting.Long awaited in translation, Francis Bacon is destined to become a classic philosophical reflection on the nature of painting.
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Translated and with an Introduction by Daniel W. Smith
Afterword by Tom Conley
Gilles Deleuze had several paintings by Francis Bacon hanging in his Paris apartment, and the painter’s method and style as well as his motifs of seriality, difference, and repetition influenced Deleuze’s work. This first English translation shows us one of the most original and important French philosophers of the twentieth century in intimate confrontation with one of that century’s most original and important painters.
In considering Bacon, Deleuze offers implicit and explicit insights into the origins and development of his own philosophical and aesthetic ideas, ideas that represent a turning point in his intellectual trajectory. First published in French in 1981, Francis Bacon has come to be recognized as one of Deleuze’s most significant texts in aesthetics. Anticipating his work on cinema, the baroque, and literary criticism, the book can be read not only as a study of Bacon’s paintings but also as a crucial text within Deleuze’s broader philosophy of art.
In it, Deleuze creates a series of philosophical concepts, each of which relates to a particular aspect of Bacon’s paintings but at the same time finds a place in the “general logic of sensation.” Illuminating Bacon’s paintings, the nonrational logic of sensation, and the act of painting itself, this work—presented in lucid and nuanced translation—also points beyond painting toward connections with other arts such as music, cinema, and literature. Francis Bacon is an indispensable entry point into the conceptual proliferation of Deleuze’s philosophy as a whole.
Gilles Deleuze (1925–1995) was professor of philosophy at the University of Paris, Vincennes–St. Denis. He coauthored Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus with Félix Guattari. These works, as well as Cinema 1, Cinema 2, The Fold, Proust and Signs, and others, are published in English by Minnesota.
Daniel W. Smith teaches in the Department of Philosophy at Purdue University.
Gilles Deleuze was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Paris VIII.Daniel W. Smith is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Purdue University, USA. He has translated books by Gilles Deleuze, Pierre Klossowski and Isabelle Stengers.
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