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French Studies, Vol. LXVII, No. 3, 371 385 doi:10.

1093/fs/knt073

DELEUZE ON PAINTING
MARTIN CROWLEY QUEENS COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE
Abstract In keeping with the position maintained throughout his work, Deleuzes writings on painting reject an aesthetics of mimesis in favour of a celebration of effectivity. Mobilizing a dynamic of combative extraction, Deleuze shows in these writings how works of art can engage with local instances of suffering and constraint in such a way as to open these on to other, livelier possibilities. Examining Deleuzes most extended analyses of the work of particular painters (namely, Francis Bacon: logique de la sensation (1981), and Le Froid et le chaud (1973), on Ge rard Fromanger), this article looks in detail at the workings of this mechanism in each case. Arguing that the version deployed in Deleuzes discussion of Bacon is limited in its ability to negotiate some kinds of contingent negativity, it maintains that this might, accordingly, be supplemented usefully by the differently inected version at work in his piece on Fromanger. The article concludes by suggesting how these two versions of combative painterly extraction might most productively be imagined as working in tandem.

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In his writings on the visual arts, as elsewhere, Deleuze celebrates the capacity of works of art to channel energetic forces that can help us battle all manner of constraints. Such works do this by means of the characteristic Deleuzian mechanism that I shall here call combative extraction, in which contingent negativity is, despite itself, opened on to the afrmation of something positive. Such afrmation is always, for Deleuze, on the side of vitality: combative extraction opens a channel beyond any local misery towards the welcome, lively possibility of something else that can help us ght or escape this misery. This mechanism is consistently at work throughout Deleuzes writings on the visual arts, inected differently in different places. One version, for example, can be found in rence et re pe tition (1968), and in his piece on the painter Ge Diffe rard Fromanger, Le Froid et le chaud (1973); another, with different emphases, in his monograph Francis Bacon: logique de la sensation (1981), and in Quest-ce que la philosophie? (1991), written with Guattari. These two modalities display more similarities than differences: they are evidently versions of the same dynamic. My aim here is to use a comparison of the two to understand the precise possibilities offered by each. As will be seen, the difference in question turns on the relation between contingent misery and the vitality on to which this misery may be opened; seeking to dene this difference, I shall examine the kinds of traction between these dimensions allowed by each version. I shall not attempt to cover every Deleuzian and Deleuzo Guattarian discussion of painting; there will be no analysis, for example, of the account of Turner in LAnti-dipe, or that of the iconography of Christian painting in Mille plateaux, or the painters who swarm across
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the pages of Quest-ce que la philosophie?.1 Rather, I plan to explore these twin poles, each of which features one of Deleuzes two most detailed treatments of painting, in order to understand better the dening structures and possibilities of combative painterly extraction, which here nd their most extensive elaborations. After some initial presentation of key concepts, I shall proceed anti-chronologically, discussing rst his analysis of Bacon, and then his essay on Fromanger. I shall conclude by considering how the relation between the extractive dynamics at work in these respective moments might most productively be imagined. Lobjet le plus haut de lart I shall not, then, be proposing an overall account of Deleuzes writings on the visual arts.2 Rather, by way of introduction, I shall here highlight three elements that are particularly relevant to the argument at hand: his refusal of representation; the notion, developed with Guattari, of art as channelling the forces of chaos; and the specic version of combative extraction discussed in Logique du sens under the name of counter-actualization. Deleuzes conception of art is uncompromisingly anti-mimetic and embeds him squarely in his time: his is one of the strongest statements of the modernist afrmation of the artwork as non-representational, productive not of resemblance but of powerfully revitalizing effects.3 The specicity of Deleuzes position emerges in his understanding of the vitality of these effects: for Deleuze, the effectivity of the artwork derives from its ability to channel those forces of differentiation through which life as such afrms itself.4 The fascination of modern artworks for processes of repetition, seriality, and so on allows them, in Deleuzes analysis, to show the movement of differentiation in action. Il faut rant, he writes in Diffe rence et re pe tition: montrer la diffe rence allant diffe
On sait que luvre dart moderne tend a ` re aliser ces conditions: elle devient en ce sens un ve ritre, fait de me a table the tamorphoses et de permutations. [. . .] Luvre dart quitte le domaine de la repre sentation pour devenir expe rience, empirisme transcendantal ou science du sensible.5
1 ditions de nie: I : LAnti-dipe, new edn (Paris: E See Gilles Deleuze and Fe lix Guattari, Capitalisme et schizophre ditions de Minuit, nie: II : Mille plateaux (Paris: E Minuit, 1973), pp. 157 58; Capitalisme et schizophre ditions de Minuit, 2005), esp. the chapter 1980), pp. 218 19; and Quest-ce que la philosophie? (1991; Paris: E Percept, affect et concept, pp. 154 88. 2 For such accounts see, in particular, Anne Sauvagnargues, Deleuze et lart (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 2005); Darren Ambrose, 30,000 BC : Painting Animality: Deleuze and Prehistoric Painting, Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, 11.2 (2006), 137 52; Simon OSullivan, Art Encounters Deleuze and Guattari: Thought beyond Representation (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006); and Elizabeth Grosz, Chaos, Territory, Art: Deleuze and the Framing of the Earth (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008). 3 On this see Paul Patton, Anti-Platonism and Art, in Gilles Deleuze and the Theater of Philosophy, ed. by Constantin V. Boundas and Dorothea Olkowski (New York: Routledge, 1994), pp. 141 56. 4 As James Williams writes: according to Deleuze, every actual thing is subject to an innite set of continuing and open-ended transformations and recreations that can be expressed in art; see J. Williams, Deleuze on J. M. W. Turner: Catastrophism in Philosophy?, in Deleuze and Philosophy: The Difference Engineer, ed. by Keith Ansell Pearson (London: Routledge, 1997), pp. 233 46 (p. 235). 5 rence et re pe tition (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1968), p. 79 (emphasis original). Gilles Deleuze, Diffe As Patton puts it: Aesthetic modernity provides Deleuze with one example of a world in which difference has free rein (Anti-Platonism and Art, p. 154). (Hereafter, page numbers for quotations from the writings of Deleuze/Deleuze and Guattari, after the rst complete bibliographical citation in the footnotes, will be given in parentheses in the text. Italics within quotations are original.)

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This conception of the work as experiential disqualies any recourse to concepts of imitation: with this gesture, the Platonic hierarchy between Ideal model, acceptable copy, and degraded simulacrum is decisively refused. On de nit la modernite par la puissance du simulacre, writes Deleuze in Logique du sens.6 The happy genius of modern art forms is, in his view, to have so exacerbated the status of the copy as to have split decisively from any logic of authentic originals rence et re pe tition he celebrates: and faithful reproductions. Accordingly, in Diffe
la manie `re dont le Pop-Art en peinture a su pousser la copie, la copie de copie, etc., jusqua ` ce point me ou extre ries se rige niques de Warhol, ` elle se renverse, et devient simulacre (ainsi les admirables se ou pe titions, dhabitude, de me moire, et de mort, se trouvent conjugue es). (p. 375)7 ` toutes les re
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Consequently, Deleuze proposes this operation as the task of art as such:


tre est-ce lobjet le plus haut de lart, de faire jouer simultane Peut-e ment toutes ces re pe titions [. . .]. Lart nimite pas, mais cest dabord parce quil re pe ` te, et re pe ` te toutes les re pe titions, de par une puissance inte rieure (limitation est une copie, mais lart est simulacre, il renverse les copies en simulacres). (pp. 374 75)

Freeing repetition from the tyranny of imitation, art helps us extract from our drab everyday routine the livelier rhythms of disparity and singularity:
me la re Me pe tition la plus me canique, la plus quotidienne, la plus habituelle, la plus ste re otype e trouve sa place dans luvre dart, e tant toujours de place e par rapport a ` dautres re pe titions, et a ` condition quon sache en extraire une diffe rence pour ces autres re pe titions. (p. 375)

Art thus encourages us to nd the play of difference even within repetitions that we can nd oppressive:
t standardise Plus notre vie quotidienne appara e, ste re otype e, soumise a ` une reproduction acce le re e dobjets de consommation, plus lart doit sy attacher, et lui arracher cette petite diffe rence qui joue dautre part et simultane ment entre dautres niveaux de re pe tition. (p. 375)

Against the deathly repetition to which our lives can subject us (specically, here, what he presents as the consumerist reproduction of the same), Deleuze celebrates the capacity of works of art to release the lively rhythms of repetition as differentiation, through the joyful productivity of the simulacrum. As Deleuze and Guattari put it in Mille plateaux: Aucun art nest imitatif, ne tre imitatif ou guratif (p. 374). From this functionalist perspective, every peut e artwork is productive of effects, each time anew. And as in Deleuzes invocation of the rhythms of differentiation, these effects entail an encounter with vital, but otherwise imperceptible, forces. As Deleuze writes in his study of Bacon:
En art, en peinture comme en musique, il ne sagit pas de reproduire ou dinventer des formes, mais de capter des forces. La ce le `bre formule de Klee non pas rendre le visible, mais rendre che de la peinture est de visible ne signie pas autre chose. La ta nie comme la tentative de rendre visibles des forces qui ne le sont pas. [. . .] Cest une e vidence.8
ditions de Minuit, 1969), p. 306. Gilles Deleuze, Logique du sens (Paris: E On the simulacrum see Brian Massumi, Realer than Real: The Simulacrum according to Deleuze and Guattari (1987), , http://www.anu.edu.au/hrc/rst_and_last/works/realer.htm . [accessed 25 February 2013]. 8 Gilles Deleuze, Francis Bacon: logique de la sensation (1981; Paris: Seuil, 2002), p. 57. (Hereafter, Logique de la sensation.)
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In Quest-ce que la philosophie? this is expressed axiomatically: Le ternel objet de la peinture: peindre les forces (p. 172). This role provides one example of arts more general function, which it shares in this analysis with science and philosophy: to traverse the chaos of what is, and bring back just enough of its energy to allow us to survive, to create, to become otherwise. La philosophie, la science et lart veulent que nous de chirions le rmament et que nous plongions dans le chaos, write Deleuze and Guattari: Nous ne le vaincrons qua ` ce prix (p. 190). Art composes (with) chaos, producing sensations that have something of its intensity and so help us not to fall into its abyss: Le peintre passe par une catastrophe, ou par un embrasement, et laisse sur la toile la trace de ce passage, comme du saut qui le me ` ne du chaos a ` la composition (pp. 190 91).9 The enemy is not just chaos, however: there is also the risk of protecting ourselves from these forces by constructing regimes of bad faith, standardization, repeated consumption. And as we have seen, art also has the task of helping us to ght the oppressive force of such regimes. There are, then, two enemies: On dirait que la lutte contre le chaos ne va pas sans afnite avec lennemi, parce quune autre lutte se de veloppe et prend plus dimportance, contre lopinion qui me ( Quest-ce que la philosopre tendait pourtant nous prote ger du chaos lui-me phie?, p. 191). Always by denition heterodox, art (along with science and philosophy) can help us escape both the tyranny of orthodoxy and the dangers of chaos, channelling the energies of the latter to explode the constraints of the former while also protecting against the full force of these energies. In the face of constraint or chaos, Deleuzes dynamic of combative extraction means that art can always draw on other energies to put us in touch with something else. One particularly clear account of this dynamic which is, of course, far from being restricted to works of art is provided in Logique du sens, where it takes the form of the process Deleuze calls counter-actualization (la contre-effectuation). As he explains it here, the aim of counter-actualization is to live actual suffering in such a way as to defy its deadening assault; the key to this lies in the possibility of extracting from this suffering the force of life it always, despite itself, also afrms. Deleuze calls these poles the accident and the event: as he puts it, [l]e ve nement nest pas ce qui arrive, il est dans ce qui arrive le pur exprime qui nous fait signe et nous attend (Logique du sens, p. 175). ve nement avec son effectuation spatioThe imperative, accordingly, is: ne pas confondre le temporelle dans un etat de choses (p. 34). Singular and ideal, as Deleuze describes me them, every event communicates with every other event, en un seul et me ve E nement (p. 68), splendidly libre des limitations dun e tat de choses (p. 177); with the consequence that any local instance of suffering can always be opened towards the possibility of something else, if the accident can be lived stoically, in the sense of its mobile event. Deleuzes favourite example is, famously, poet Joe Bousquet writing out of paralysis and constant pain, of whom he says: La
9 For excellent accounts of this process see the rst two chapters of Grosz, Chaos, Territory, Art; see also Williams, Deleuze on J. M. W. Turner.

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blessure quil porte profonde ment dans son corps, il lappre hende dans sa ve rite e ternelle comme e ve nement pur, pourtant et dautant plus (p. 174). Inspired by such examples, the imperative for Deleuze becomes:
Arriver a ` cette volonte que nous fait le ve nement, devenir la quasi-cause de ce qui se produit en nous [. . .]. Ou bien la morale na aucun sens, ou bien cest cela quelle veut dire, elle na rien dautre a ` tre indigne de ce qui nous arrive. (p. 174) dire: ne pas e

This is a Nietzschean imperative, clearly, invoking the amor fati of the eternal return. But given Deleuzes reading of the eternal return it is not a matter simply of wanting any given happening (the accident) to be repeated: this is as conservative as it is impossible. Willing the event is, on the contrary, a combative process of extraction: Non pas vouloir ce qui arrive, avec cette fausse volonte qui se plaint et se de fend, et se perd en mimique, mais porter la plainte et la fureur au point ou ` elles se retournent contre ce qui arrive ( Quest-ce que la philosophie?, p. 151). The actor-dancer (Deleuzes name in Logique du sens for the agent of counter-actualization) wrenches the event out of the grasp of the accident and afrms differentiation as that mode of relationality capable of plugging into something else, somewhere else, toujours pour dautres fois:
doubler leffectuation dune contre-effectuation, lidentication dune distance [. . .], cest donner a ` la ve rite de le ve nement la chance unique de ne pas se confondre avec son ine vitable effectuation, a ` la lure la chance de survoler son champ de surface incorporel sans sarre ter au craquement dans fe chaque corps, et a ` nous daller plus loin que nous naurions cru pouvoir. (Logique du sens, p. 188)10

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Despite the importance of Bousquet, Deleuze does not particularly connect counter-actualization to the operation of works of art. In Logique du sens it is primarily an ethos, a way of approaching the business of living; in Quest-ce que la philosophie? it becomes a philosophical process whose agent is now le personnage conceptuel (p. 151). Equally, he tends not to use the concept of counteractualization when discussing works of art, preferring the frameworks we have just considered, namely afrmative differentiation and the production of forceful, energetic effects. If I introduce it here, this is because its key terms, accident and event, crystallize with especial clarity the play of miserable constriction and vital possibility in the broader Deleuzian dynamic of combative extraction. For the sake of this helpful schematic clarity, but, I hope, duly mindful of their conceptual specicities, I shall occasionally use this language, and the concept of counteractualization, in my discussions of the role of this dynamic in Deleuzes encounters with painting. extraordinaire Bacon: un point de vitalite Composing (with) chaos and repetition to ght deathliness and standardization; reaching out of misery towards vitality: this is how Deleuze understands arts
10 On Logique du sens as a moral philosophy see James Williams, Gilles Deleuzes Logic of Sense: A Critical Introduction and Guide (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008), esp. the chapter Morals and Events, pp. 135 74.

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function. His two extended discussions of the work of particular artists, accordingly, show him exploring precisely these dimensions. In his analysis of Bacon, it is the invigorating encounter with the abyss that is most to the fore; in his earlier essay on Fromanger, this place is taken by the latters equally invigorating confrontation with the rhythms of consumerism. I shall now consider each of these discussions in turn, focusing on the relation each displays between contingent misery and sublime vitality. In particular I wish to investigate how Deleuzes account of the invigorating force of Bacons paintings might usefully be supplemented by his analysis of Fromanger. In that analysis he seems prepared to allow the paintings more room to engage in critical negotiation of local, contextual material than is the case in his discussion of Bacon; my aim here will be to explore whether this earlier approach can enhance the force of combative extraction available from the better-known, later account. Deleuzes appreciation of Bacon lls the pages of the only book-length study he devoted to a single artist in any medium.11 His analysis starts from Bacons noted rejection of narrative and primary guration, and his corresponding production of what Deleuze calls the Figure. He asks why Bacons gures are invariably isolated:
Bacon le dit souvent: pour conjurer le caracte `re guratif, illustratif, narratif, que la Figure aurait ne cessairement si elle ne tait pas isole e. La peinture na ni mode `le a ` repre senter, ni histoire a ` raconter. De `s lors elle a comme deux voies possibles pour e chapper au guratif: vers la forme pure, par abstraction; ou bien vers le pur gural, par extraction ou isolation. Si le peintre tient a ` la Figure, sil prend la seconde voie, ce sera donc pour opposer le gural au guratif . (Logique de la sensation, p. 12)12

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Deleuze aligns the Figure with Ce zanne and ties it rmly to the production of sensation: Cette voie de la Figure, Ce zanne lui donne un nom simple: la sensation. La Figure, cest la forme sensible rapporte e a ` la sensation; elle agit imme diatement sur le syste ` me nerveux, qui est de la chair (p. 39). In this emphasis on the effect of the Figure on the nervous system, Deleuze is following statements from Bacons extensive interviews with David Sylvester, published in French in 1976, which he elsewhere describes as une base ne cessaire.13 Freed from anecdote, the Figure pins the painting to what, after Bacon, Deleuze calls
11 On Deleuzes interpretation of Bacon see in particular Dana Polan, Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation, in Gilles Deleuze and the Theater of Philosophy, ed. by Boundas and Olkowski, pp. 229 54; Art & Language and Tom Baldwin, Deleuzes Bacon, Radical Philosophy, 123 (2004), 29 40; and Timothy Mathews, Space, Place and Virtuality: Gilles Deleuze with Francis Bacon and Alberto Giacometti, in Porous Boundaries: me Game (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2007), pp. 137 50. Texts and Images in Twentieth-Century French Culture, ed. by Je ro 12 As he acknowledges, Deleuze derives this use of le gural from Jean-Franc ois Lyotards Discours, gure raire in 1972: see (Paris: Klincksieck, 1971). Deleuze reviewed Lyotards book for the Quinzaine litte ditions de Minuit, serte: textes et entretiens, 1953 1974 (Paris: E Appre ciation, in Gilles Deleuze, LIle de 2002), pp. 299 300. An alternative, sceptical note is sounded by Art & Language and Baldwin, who historicize the gural as [a] middle, one might say quietly British category, a project of artistic conservatism emerging from the refusal of abstraction in ofcial British art culture from the late 1930s (Deleuzes Bacon, pp. 30, 39). 13 gimes de fous: textes et entretiens, 1975 1995, Gilles Deleuze, La Peinture enamme le criture (1981), in Deux re ditions de Minuit, 2003), pp. 167 72 (p. 170). See Francis Bacon, LArt de limed. by David Lapoujade (Paris: E possible: entretiens avec David Sylvester, trans. by Michel Leiris and Michael Peppiatt, Preface by Michel Leiris, 2 vols (Geneva: Albert Skira, 1976); for Bacons evocation of paintings that impact directly on the nervous system see ibid., I , 44.

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its fact. The fact is not to be confused with something like a documentary impulse: on the contrary, it is the fact of the painting, its production of sensation, and of a new, haptic visuality; the fact, in sum, of a sensation that touches the nervous system. The imperative is again Ce zannes: peindre la sensation, ou, comme dit Bacon avec des mots tre ` s proches de ceux de Ce zanne, enregistrer le fait (p. 40).15 Counter-intuitively, no doubt, to record the fact here means to produce sensation-as-differentiation, that difference of intensity that is life. Bacon ne cesse pas de dire, writes Deleuze, que la sensation, cest ce qui se passe dun ordre a ` un autre, dun niveau a ` un autre, dun domaine a ` un autre. Accordingly, he continues, for Bacon:
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me reproche a on peut faire le me ` la peinture gurative et a ` la peinture abstraite: elles passent par le cerveau, elles nagissent pas directement sur le syste `me nerveux, elles nacce `dent pas a ` la sensation, me niveau. (p. 41) elles ne de gagent pas la Figure, et cela parce quelles en restent a ` un seul et me

As these failures suggest, the production of the Figure is no small matter. In Deleuzes account, it results specically from the work Bacon does to overcome the gurative, or the trivially sensational:
me si lon remarque pratiquement, comme Bacon le fait, que quelque chose est quand me me me gure (par exemple un pape qui crie), cette guration seconde repose sur la neutralisation de toute guration primaire. [. . .] En tout cas Bacon na pas cesse de vouloir e liminer le sensationnel, cest-a `-dire la guration primaire de ce qui provoque une sensation violente. (Logique de la sensation, p. 42)

As Bacon puts it (in words that Deleuze quotes with approval), he seeks to t que lhorreur (p. 42), to get through the horror (with its inpeindre le cri pluto ` la viocessant attendant stories) to its truth, its sensation, that other violence: A lence du repre sente (le sensationnel, le cliche ) soppose la violence de la sensation. Celle-ci ne fait quun avec son action directe sur le syste ` me nerveux, les niveaux par lesquels elle passe, les domaines quelle traverse (p. 43).16 The sensational, the cliche (what Deleuze also here calls the spectacle) can be ruined: the artist can effect an encounter with the forces of life its regime seeks to control. Bacon thus emerges as perfect for Deleuze: where we might have expected pain, horror, we nd works in which these are turned inside out to offer an encounter with the life that, despite themselves, they cannot but afrm. Cest tre `s curieux, writes Deleuze, mais cest un point de vitalite extraordinaire:
Quand Bacon distingue deux violences, celle du spectacle et celle de la sensation, et dit quil faut renoncer a ` lune pour atteindre a ` lautre, cest une espe ` ce de de claration de foi dans la vie. ` la mort, mais justement la mort nest pas ce trop-visible qui nous fait de [. . .] La vie crie a faillir, elle est cette force invisible que la vie de tecte, de busque et fait voir en criant. [. . .] Tout un
14 Deleuze takes up Bacons use of the phrase matter of fact and its variants throughout Logique de la sensation: see, for example, pp. 11, 13, 65, 68, 81. 15 In the version of Bacons words read by Deleuze: enregistrer le fait, non pas comme simple fait, mais a ` de nombreux niveaux, ou ` une perception plus profonde de la ` lon ouvre les domaines sensibles qui conduisent a re alite de limage (Bacon, LArt de limpossible, I , 129). 16 See Bacon, LArt de limpossible, I , 97.

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mise rabilisme guratif, mais au service dune Figure de la vie de plus en plus forte. (Logique de la sensation, pp. 61 62)

Accordingly, [l]a formule de Bacon, ce serait gurativement pessimiste, mais guralement optimiste (p. 46). And Deleuzes watchword, thanks to Bacon, becomes the phrase he would develop, with Guattari, in Quest-ce que la philosophie?: Sortir de la catastrophe . . . (Logique de la sensation, p. 103). Indeed, Logique de la sensation contains in germ exactly the relation between art and chaos developed in that later work. Touching the chaos, Bacon siphons off something of its force just enough to wreck the stratifying regime of gurative representation and make this force resonate here, on the plane of composition. In the painting, we thus encounter un chaos, une catastrophe, mais aussi un germe dordre ou de rythme. Cest un violent chaos par rapport aux donne es guratives, mais cest un germe de rythme par rapport au nouvel ordre de la peinture (pp. 95 96). Breaking through the chaos (the initial ruination of gurative organization), Bacon gives us a rhythm, a syncopated pulse to play against the monoculture of the spectacle (ce trop-visible qui nous fait de faillir (p. 62)). Out of the miserable accident (horror, constriction), on the energies of chaos, towards vitality, possibility.17 Deleuzes account of Bacon is both invigorating and true. It is also, however, limited, and works better in relation to some of Bacons paintings than others. I shall now briey explore these limitations before moving on to consider whether Deleuzes earlier account of Fromanger might offer possibilities through which they could helpfully be addressed. The problem turns on Deleuzes treatment of persisting literal guration. We have already seen the enthusiasm with which Deleuze receives Bacons aesthetic of effectivity, especially his insistence on painting as addressed primarily to the nervous system, and his associated refusal of history, narrative, or anecdote. Accordingly, Deleuze cannot be thought to neglect this literal realm: this is precisely the order of primary guration whose ruination allows the production of the Figure, of sensation. But his wholesale identication of the force of Bacons paintings with this process of ruination means that his account works best when this is most energetically at work, and least well in relation to those paintings in which primary guration proves most persistent. Let us now consider one such work. Discussing the refusal of anecdote in his 1983 essay Francis Bacon, face et prol, Michel Leiris cites the specic example of Bacons 1971 Triptych In Memory of me George Dyer George Dyer. Referring to the suicide of its subject (ce me pre sent dans maints tableaux et qui venait alors de nir tragiquement), Leiris expressly minimizes the role of reference to any such sensational context in the evaluation of any given painting: le pouvoir de cette surface peinte au titre jamais raccrocheur, he writes, ne repose pas essentiellement sur le ve nement vrai ou suppose quelle e voque.18 Which is true: the painting as such cannot
17 18

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On this see Williams, Deleuze on J. M. W. Turner, pp. 244 45. du fait (Paris: Seuil, 1995), p. 109. Michel Leiris, Francis Bacon, ou La brutalite

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even be addressed, let alone encountered in all its life-afrming intensity, if it is reduced to the expression of determinate biographical content, however extreme. But this position, which Deleuze shares, has a singular weakness in relation to a work such as this triptych: clearing the ground for an encounter with the painting as such, it rules itself out of this encounter by virtue of the exclusion that establishes it in the rst place. For in this case the biographical fact of Dyers suicide is not simply external to the work; it is an element of the works workings, in two ways. First, it is referenced in the title of the triptych, which however much it avoids mere showiness, as Leiris points out thereby introduces this fact into the eld of the work. The title is paratextual, of course; and Bacons titles were apparently as often as not afterthoughts, or generated by his gallerists. But there it is, stuck to the work, which is not encountered without it. Secondly, and more substantively, the presence across this works three panels of what Deleuze would call me its primary guration is, as Leiris demonstrates in his reference to ce me George Dyer pre sent dans maints tableaux, familiar as that of Dyer to any viewer of Bacons works. The work can hardly be reduced to this persisting primary guration. But encountering this painting as such, and encountering le pouvoir de cette surface peinte as such, entails is not reducible to, but entails encountering the unhappily sensational fact of Dyers suicide. The paintings third panel tells us this, by guring a Bacon portrait of Dyer, which deliquesces, slides away from guration, and nally puddles on to the oor. What is this pool of chestnut paint? For Deleuze, it would be part of the afrmation of a lively, properly painterly struggle against the forces of death, what we saw above as un point de vitalite extraordinaire, une espe ` ce de de claration de foi dans la vie (Logique de la sensation, p. 61), declared in the dissolution of primary guration and especially, in Bacons triptychs, in the rhythmic rebounds generated by the compositional play between Figures.19 Deleuze is right, and importantly so: the work cannot be reduced to the anecdotes of its prehistory, and does ght against the forces of death and chaos in this way. But nor is the work separable from this prehistory, which it chooses to make unavoidable. For here, the effect of Bacons composition is to have the pool of paint leaking from Dyers head free itself from an order of guration to which it remains irreducibly attached. The accident is opened, but never abandoned. Transcendentally with regard to the conditions of possibility of the action of Bacons painting Deleuze is right. We could easily imagine the painting functioning in the absence of any contextual information whatsoever. Equally, there are many of Bacons paintings that make no determinate reference to contextual material, and whose operation is perfectly celebrated in Deleuzes account of their more general counter-actualization of horror into vitality. For this painting to function in such a fashion now, however, it must be split from the
19 It may be worth noting that this is not one of the many triptychs Deleuze discusses in the section he devotes to the form (Logique de la sensation, pp. 73 81).

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context of literality and anecdote that for now is part of its mode of existence; that multiple context within and against which it exerts its extractive power. This is not a matter of reining Deleuze in, tying him back to the deathly regime of representation: to emphasize the persistence of primary guration is not to reduce the paintings to this order. As we have seen, for Deleuze, Bacons work always entails a gurative moment whose ruination produces the Figure. It cannot, therefore, be a matter of choosing between miserable guration and some unblemished alternative. Rather, it is a matter of assessing the force of the process to which this guration is subjected; of insisting, in fact, on this process as one of extraction, which is diminished by the refusal of literal detail in cases in which the work itself persists with such detail precisely in order to map the accident in question. In such cases, the process to which Bacon subjects the gurative moment is not quite captured by Deleuzes account of its ruination: it proves more persistent, its residues harder to shift.20 Granted, Deleuze does allow the necessity of what he calls une guration malgre tout subsistante (Logique de la sensation, p. 69), but as the waste product of necessary processes of ruination, inevitable perhaps, but a dangerous distraction from the paintings livelier energies. While this model works well for many, perhaps most, of Bacons paintings, I would contend that, in cases such as the 1971 Dyer triptych, in which primary guration is more decisively retained, the dynamic of combative extraction suggests that these energies can most effectively be tapped in and against their relation with the realm of contingency, marked in the remaining form of this particular, determinate accident, presented for our recognition. Where the misery in question is less general (horror, mutilation), and more precise (this lovers suicide), we may need an account of painterly possibility that is more willing to extract vitality from the literal detail of this accident.21 `me dinductions simultane es Fromanger: un syste Happily, Deleuze does elaborate elsewhere a version of combative painterly extraction that displays a greater willingness to tarry with the guration of contingent constraints, and might, accordingly, supplement his reluctance to do this in relation to Bacon. This other version is what we have found at work in the rence et re pe tition of arts ability to extract lively differentiation account in Diffe from within consumerist repetition; it is also what we nd in his analysis of Fromanger.22
20 As Christopher Fynsk writes, in this respect Deleuze may be too rapid, his account missing something that Bacon persists in seeking to capture in his subjects what he calls a residue of reality, or an essence. Fynsk concludes: I believe we need to hold to this residue if we are to appreciate Bacons realism. See C. Fynsk, Infant Figures: The Death of the Infans and Other Scenes of Origin (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000), pp. 38 39 (emphasis original). 21 A harsher version of this criticism is provided by Art & Language and Baldwin, for whom Deleuze engulfs Bacon in a world without material and political contingency (Deleuzes Bacon, p. 35). For a broader critique of Deleuze along similar lines see Peter Hallward, Out of This World: Deleuze and the Philosophy of Creation (London: Verso, 2006). 22 On the treatments of Fromanger by Guattari, Foucault, and Deleuze see Sarah Wilson, The Visual World of French Theory: Figurations (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2010), pp. 126 55.

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As might be expected from a painter associated with the Figuration Narrative tendency, Fromangers paintings maintain a good deal more primary guration than does Bacon; and in this case Deleuze is happy for them to do `le discussed by so.23 In the series of paintings entitled Le Peintre et le mode Deleuze, Fromanger develops the techniques of earlier series such as Le Rouge (1970) and Le Boulevard des Italiens (1971): a nascent world of consumerism and leisure is depicted in a colourful, almost cartoonish manner close to much of the advertising of its day, observed by the silhouetted gure of the artist, whose gaze we cannot see (he is blacked out, his back to us) but who acts as a relay for our own encounter with this imagery. The world of the paintings is, in a fairly straightforward sense, the everyday world beyond the paintings, which is to say, the world of commodication. Deleuzes opening sentences make this clear: Le mode ` le du peintre, he writes, cest la marchandise. Toutes sortes de marchandises: vestimentaires, balne aires, nuptiales, e rotiques, alimentaires.24 The silhouette of the painter implies something like an embedded critical perspective on this cornucopia; structurally, it insists that the commodities in question are always in relation. But this obscure perspective never quite overcomes the commodities it appears to observe:
Le peintre est toujours pre sent, silhouette noire: il a lair de regarder. Le peintre et lamour, le peintre et la mort, le peintre et la nourriture, le peintre et lauto: mais dun mode `le a ` lautre, tout est mesure a ` lunique mode `le Marchandise qui circule avec le peintre. (Le Froid et le chaud, p. 344)

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This co-implication is not a shortcoming on Fromangers part, however, but suggests precisely the intelligence of his approach: observing this conveyor belt of goodies, the paintings, crucially, have the historical wit to factor themselves into this equation. It is possible, says Deleuze (with a nod to the various shop windows that feature in the paintings), to consider the series as representing each me tableau, mais cette fois expose time le me chez le marchand, le peintre et son mes marchandises (p. 344). In this way, Fromangers tableau devenus eux-me paintings both set up a play of properly visual energies (the play of colours between images) and extract the economic principle that sustains their modish furniture:
Dun tableau a ` lautre, de toute fac on, une promenade qui nest pas seulement celle du peintre a ` travers les magasins, mais une circulation qui est celle de la valeur de change, un voyage qui est celui des couleurs, et dans chaque tableau un voyage, une circulation des tons. (p. 344)

This critical performance of the circulation of exchange value is effected by the recognizable depiction of objects and arenas of consumption (including the place of the painting as commodity). We should be careful, however, for it would be a serious mistake to conclude that Deleuze has abandoned his hostility to a mimetic concept of art. What he nds here, rather, is the conrmation of
23 en peinture: essai sur la Figuration Narrative et On Figuration Narrative see Raymond Perrot, De la narrativite ne ral (Paris: LHarmattan, 2005), and Wilson, The Visual World of French Theory. sur la guration en ge 24 le de serte, pp. 344 50 (p. 344). Gilles Deleuze, Le Froid et le chaud (1973), in LI

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this hostility. Hence his decision to open his analysis with the statement that Le mode ` le du peintre, cest la marchandise: what the Platonism of the commodity disavows but can be made to disclose is that the original is already a standardized reproduction, already in circulation, derivative, shopworn. Fromanger thus reveals une ve rite e ternelle de la peinture:
que jamais le peintre na peint sur la surface blanche de la toile pour reproduire un objet fonctionnant comme mode `le, mais quil a toujours peint sur une image, un simulacre, une ombre de me renverse le rapport du mode lobjet, pour produire une toile dont le fonctionnement me `le et de `le. (Le Froid et le chaud, la copie, et qui fait pre cise ment quil ny a plus de copie ni de mode p. 345)25
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rence et re pe tition, Pop Art here, Fromanger extracts an Exactly as in Diffe emancipatory truth (no need to bow down before a Platonism that subordinates what is to the authority of an absent model) from the misery of standardization (the serial production of consumer goods), exaggerating this seriality until it turns inside out, and afrms the lively differentiation that such standardization seeks to conne. Pousser la copie, et la copie de copie, jusquau point ou ` elle se me, et produit le mode renverse elle-me ` le, he writes: PopArt ou peinture pour un plus de re alite (p. 345). Painting here proceeds by working a deathly stock of images to create an opening for vitality, extracting this chance against the conformist imaginary by which it remains surrounded. Fromangers working method like Bacons, famously, though in this case more systematically involves working with photographs, provided, in his lie Kagan and projected on to the canvas as a template. case, by photographer E This method mobilizes the relationality of combative extraction with especial force: the new composite that is the painting sets in play a dynamic to and fro between its own colourful vibrations and the world of the photograph. As Deleuze puts it, le tableau fonctionne a ` partir du de chet de photo non moins que la photo, a ` partir des couleurs constituantes du tableau, with the result that [u]ne e trange vie circule, force vitale (Le Froid et le chaud, pp. 346, 347). In this observation of the interplay between the residual literality of the photograph and the vibrant energies of its paintings colours, we can see what Deleuzes understanding of this extractive dynamic in Fromanger can add to the way he will come to understand it in Bacon. In his account of Fromanger, persisting primary guration is not ruined: it is worked as a point of contact on to something else. Turned inside out to open a channel, it participates more actively, as a negative pole, in what Deleuze calls un syste ` me dinductions simultane es (p. 348): the production of that vital ow which will allow us to ght its stultifying grip; the domination of the same which connects the economics of commodication to the aesthetics of mimesis. Fromanger sait la nocivite de son mode ` le, writes Deleuze, la ruse de la tise dun passant, la haine qui peut entourer un marchandise, le ventuelle be
25 Sarah Wilson recounts that this point comes directly from the brainstorming sessions that led to Deleuzes article, and she notes its reappearance on p. 57 of Logique de la sensation (The Visual World of French Theory, pp. 139 40).

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me e peintre de ` s quil a des activite s politiques, la haine quil peut lui-me prouver. But here is the twist:
Mais de cette nocivite , de cette ruse, de cette laideur, de cette haine, il ne fait pas un miroir narcisme et sur le sique pour une hypocrite re conciliation ge ne ralise e, immense apitoiement sur soi-me monde. De ce qui est laid, re pugnant, haineux et ha ssable, il sait extraire les froids et les chauds qui forment une vie pour demain. (Le Froid et le chaud, p. 349)

Fromangers reference to the economic and existential specics of contemporary life sets off the extractive force of his operation: his paintings ask us to grab the possibility of une vie pour demain by entering into the antagonism they display. Joyfully, Fromanger asserts the force of vitality above the entropy of consumerist equivalence: his paintings celebrate vibrancy and differentiation in and against this regime of standardization, reworking the contingencies of our suborned desire in such a way as to offer this desire the possibility of freeing itself from the circuit of consumption into which it is abusively channelled. Patiently, Fromanger details the iconography of consumerism including the place of the painter in such a way as to turn its system inside out, extracting from it an afrmation of just that genuine, incessant, vital productivity it strives to reduce. Explicitly, Deleuze terms this revolutionary; and he even issues an injunction: Imaginons la froide re volution comme devant re chauffer le monde surchauffe daujourdhui (p. 349). Counter-information The difference between Deleuzes accounts of Bacon and Fromanger lies, then, in the way in which he arranges the two dimensions of the key operation of combative extraction, namely misery and vitality. In his analysis of Bacon, the miserable accident is ruined, its wreckage strewn all around and we would do well not to let this wreckage distract us from the emancipatory force on to which the accident is thereby opened. I have argued that this version of combative extraction is unable to deal well with works in which this literal detail remains decisively present as part of an engagement with a determinate accident, hanging stubbornly around, demanding the counter-actualization of this wound. Deleuzes discussion of Fromanger, in which the two poles of this dynamic are maintained more in a relation of ongoing tension, provides a kind of extraction whose greater willingness to tarry with contingent detail can supplement this inability. In part, the difference between the forms of extraction Deleuze develops in these two accounts can be attributed to the approach of each painter to primary guration: clearly, Fromanger entertains more of this than Bacon does. Deleuze is, in this sense, taking from each the specic kind of force on offer. But, as an explanation, this will not quite do, for at least some of Bacons paintings (as in the example of the 1971 Dyer triptych) create the force they offer precisely by pulling against persisting guration at its most stubborn. In these cases we need to borrow something of the earlier version if we are to account for this force.

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Together, the two versions give us an understanding of painting as able to help us ght both deathly constriction and abyssal dissolution. Deleuzes account of this capacity is therefore most powerful, I would argue, if we can manage to work with the two in tandem. But how should we seek to do this? What kind of relation can we posit between these two versions of combative extraction? One answer would view the difference between them as a trend in Deleuzes work. Somewhere, perhaps, rence et re pe tition and the Fromanger piece on the one hand, and the between Diffe Bacon monograph and Quest-ce que la philosophie? on the other, his account of arts revitalizing capacity becomes more general, less interested in specic, miserable details. And certainly, the enemy envisaged in the later writings seems to shift from a specic economic regime to less precise notions of orthodoxy, stasis, cliche . There is a trajectory discernible in which Deleuzes position comes to look increasingly like a standard Romantic modernist assertion of art as welcome heterodoxy, as the details of the particular regime to be opposed gradually lose signicance, and art is celebrated as what Deleuze in 1987 calls la le contre-information, over and against the syste ` me contro des mots dordre qui ont cours dans une socie te donne e.26 There is something in this story; the comparison I have pursued here certainly bears it out to an extent. But it is not the whole story. For one thing, the later version of combative extraction found in the essay on Bacon has its closest cousin in the pages on Turner in LAnti-dipe, in which the emphasis is similarly on the escape velocity achieved by breaking through the catastrophe, but which are more or less contemporary with the piece on Fromanger.27 This is clearly not just a matter of chronology. Equally, the kind of rence et re pe tition never particular horizon at stake in the Fromanger piece and Diffe quite disappears: we found it, for example, in Deleuzes reference in Logique de la sensation to the order of the spectacle, ce trop-visible qui nous fait de faillir (p. 62).28 For the enemy is always representation: the Platonic consumerist fantasy of valuable originals and degraded copies, the sensationalist reduction of vitality to mere guration. What has changed, perhaps, by the 1980s, is the place of this horizon, its connection to a specic economic order, and the degree of detail with which it is evoked: not quite out of sight, it has nonetheless receded. In his 1987 talk Deleuze argues that, as counter-information, the artwork offers the possibility of encountering the differentiating forces of life, in and against the constraints imposed by the orthodox regime of information. Quel rapport y a-t-il entre la lutte des hommes et luvre dart?, he asks:
26 gimes de fous, pp. 291 302 (p. 300). As Gilles Deleuze, Quest-ce que lacte de la cre ation? (1987), in Deux re Dana Polan writes: There is undoubtedly a romanticism here, a longing for a purity of force stultied by modern living (Francis Bacon, p. 253); for Art & Language and Baldwin, Deleuzes account is right out of the old bohemians charter (Deleuzes Bacon, p. 30). 27 See Deleuze and Guattari, LAnti-dipe, pp. 157 58; and, on this, Williams, Deleuze on J. M. W. Turner. 28 For Polan, the force of Logique de la sensation is precisely that it offers new insights into the possibilities of art in our society of the spectacle (Francis Bacon, p. 254).

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Le rapport le plus e troit et pour moi le plus myste rieux. Exactement ce que Paul Klee voulait dire me temps, il ne quand il disait: Vous savez, le peuple manque. Le peuple manque et en me manque pas. Le peuple manque, cela veut dire que cette afnite fondamentale entre luvre dart et un peuple qui nexiste pas encore nest pas, ne sera jamais claire. Il ny a pas duvre dart qui ne fasse appel a ` un peuple qui nexiste pas encore. (Quest-ce que lacte de la cre ation?, p. 302)29

On the one hand, this can suggest a vagueness within Deleuzes later position: every work of art, always, calls out to an as yet non-existent people. On the other hand, and to do more justice to Deleuzes tenacity, the generalized character of this call means precisely that it can never be overlooked. The less specic modality of extraction that we nd mostly in Deleuzes later writings on the visual arts might thus serve as something like a medium within which when rence et re pe tition possible the tighter modality of Le Froid et le chaud and Diffe can be implanted and nurtured; as a permanent invitation, that is, to the possibility of effective transformation. We should not content ourselves with this permanent invitation: as Deleuze says, la contre-information na jamais suf a ` faire quoi que ce soit (Quest-ce que lacte de la cre ation?, p. 300). Rather, we might take it as a challenge to re-explore the potential of combative extraction: the chance it offers, for example in the kinds of painting discussed here, to pull away from the deathly grip of not just the vortices of chaos, but also our everyday, organized misery towards some other, more lively possibility.

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29 This is famously echoed four years later in the geophilosophy of Quest-ce que la philosophie?: see esp. pp. 104 05.