Painting as Hysteria: Deleuze on Bacon

Deleuze Studies 2 (2):140-154 (2008)
Abstract
Deleuze's work on Francis Bacon is an aesthetic clinic of hysteria and an implicit critique of the psychoanalytic conception of hysteria. Bacon's paintings reveal what is at stake in hysteria: not the symbolic expression of unconscious representations, but the pure presence of the body, the experience of the body under the organism. Inspired by the work of the phenomenologist Henri Maldiney, Deleuze argues that Bacon's paintings become non-figurative without being abstract. In this way, painting shows the hysterical struggle of the body to escape from itself in the rhythm of its movement
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