Bacon, Deleuze and Imperceptible Forces

Elizabeth Grosz, Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Co-presented with the Power Institute and the Art Gallery of NSW exhibition Francis Bacon: Five Decades.

Francis Bacon painting

Francis Bacon, Study for self-portrait, 1976, Art Gallery of NSW

19 October


This paper addresses the complex relation between Francis Bacon and Gilles Deleuze, who wrote one of the most perceptive and sympathetic books on Bacon's painting, Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation. Deleuze did not really write on Bacon so much as with him on a question that intrigued both of them, the possibilities we might unearth for perceiving or understanding forces that are normally imperceptible, forces of magnetism, gravity, causality and chance, forces of aging and disintegration. I will explore what this understanding of forces involves.




Elizabeth Grosz was born in Sydney, Australia and gained her PhD in Philosophy from the Department of General Philosophy, University of Sydney, where she taught as a lecturer and senior lecturer from 1978-1991. She moved to Monash University in Melbourne as Director of the newly formed Institute of Critical and Cultural Studies in 1992, where she was Associate Professor and Professor in Critical Theory and Philosophy. She has been a Visiting Professor at University of California, Santa Cruz, University of California, Davis, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Richmond, George Washington University and the University of California, Irvine. She is now based at the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers University, New Jersey.

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The Art Gallery of NSW exhibition Francis Bacon: Five Decades. is on from 17 November, 2012.