The Reading Room #3: Every Painter Recapitulates the History of Painting (Deleuze on Francis Bacon)

The Reading Room #3: Every Painter Recapitulates the History of Painting in His or Her Own Way
by Gilles Deleuze
Special guest: Rick Dolphijn

May 21th, 2015
17h – 19h
Location: Vrije Academie Gemak, Paviljoensgracht 20-24, 2512 BP, The Hague


The Reading Room is a series of reading groups revolving around short texts provided by invited guests – contemporary artists, cultural theorists, philosophers and researchers – who join us to provide insight, context and perspective on the topics at hand. The Reading Room is a joint cooperation between the artist-initiatives Platform for Thoughts in Motion and iii

For this session we are delighted to be joined by esteemed researcher and Deleuzian scholar Rick Dolphijn. We will be reading a chapter from the Logic of Sensation, a book by Gilles Deleuze reflecting on the work of iconoclastic British painter Francis Bacon. The primary text we will be reading is chapter 14: Every Painter Recapitulates the History of Painting in His or Her Own Way. A secondary text, Rick Dolphijn’s The Revelation of a World that was Always Already There: The Creative Act as an Occupation – will provide a more in-depth look at Dolphijn’s perspective on art and aesthetics.

We ask that those interested in joining please reserve a spot by sending an email to We will also provide you with a copy of the texts.

The Logic of Sensation

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.  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.”

Dr. Rick Dolphijn (1974) teaches and does research on media theory/cultural theory. He published two books, being Foodscapes, Towards a Deleuzian Ethics of Consumption (Eburon/University of Chicago Press 2004) and (with Iris van der Tuin) New Materialism: Interviews and Cartographies (Open Humanities Press 2012). Besides that, he has written on new materialism, ecology/ecosophy and art and has great interest in the developements in continental philosophy and speculative thought. His academic work has appeared in journals like Angelaki, Continental Philosophy Review (with Iris van der Tuin), Collapse and Deleuze Studies. He currently holds a Senior Fellowship at the Centre for the Humanities at Utrecht University.