Daniel W. Smith is Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Purdue University who has published widely on topics in contemporary philosophy. He is the translator of Gilles Deleuze’s Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation and Essays Critical and Clinical (with Michael A. Greco), as well as Pierre Klossowski’s Nietzsche and the Vicious Circle and Isabelle Stenger’s The Invention of Modern Science. He is also the editor, with Henry Somers-Hall, of the Cambridge Companion to Deleuze. His book Essays on Deleuze was published by Edinburgh University Press in 2012.
Abstract: “Francis Bacon as Thinker: Deleuze’s Logic of Sensation”
Although Deleuze and Guattari define philosophy, famously, as the creation of concepts, they equally insist that there are other modes of thinking that do not have to pass through concepts, such as art. Great artists are great thinkers, but they think in terms of percepts and affects rather than concepts: painters think in terms of lines and colors, musicians think in sounds, writers think in words, filmmakers think in images, and so on. This is why artists, when asked to explain or interpret their work conceptually, are often at a loss: their thought process already exists in their work—on the canvas, in the film, in the stone…. In his book on the painter Francis Bacon, subtitled The Logic of Sensation, Deleuze thus attempts, as a philosopher, to create concepts that correspond to the process of thought that already exists in Bacon’s canvases. My presentation will attempt to examine Bacon’s thought process through the concepts that Deleuze has created or appropriated: sensation, the Figure, hysteria, vibration, resonance, forced movement, the diagram, the haptic, and so on.