Deleuze on Francis Bacon

A book I have read which has made me question how the fragility of people is captured within paintings and holds more than just the visual truth of the body is the book, Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation by Gilles Deleuze.  It gives us a perspective from a philosophical view point into the mind of the artist and also into the work itself. It delves into the understanding that Bacon’s paintings were created close to the nervous sensation of the body.

Deleuze makes us aware that Bacon does more than illustrate the human figure, he captures the inside of the being both mentally and physically. What look like deformations of the figure are in actual fact not about the visual truth of the body, but the truth of the mental state and the sensation of being encapsulated within the body, “Sensation deforms the body visually but creates fact”. When he is deforming the human figure by rubbing and scraping into the paint he is discovering more than the person externally he goes into his paintings to reveal the fragile state of the body and mind set of the being.

Bacon was fascinated by meat as Deleuze mentions within the book as meat, even when dead contains visually all the living elements of the animal, “meat is not dead flesh, it retains all the sufferings and assumes all the colours of living flesh”. Meat contains the colours and the image visually of the living yet it contains all the suffering that the animal was put through its slaughter. Deleuze also compares to those who are suffering as pieces of meat, “every man who suffers is a piece of meat”. This I feel could be both mentally or physically, that those suffering are pieces of meat containing all the colours and elements of the living visually but are in actual fact suffering in pain. Humans have been brought down to their vulnerable state making their existence seen as those of an animalistic form.

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