---- by Felicity J.Colman
  Deleuze's descriptions of art remind us that it is one of the primary mediums with which humans learn to communicate and respond to the world. Art excited Deleuze for its ability to create the domains that he saw, felt, tasted, touched, heard, thought, imagined and desired. Besides publishing books on singular writers and artists, including making specific manifesto style statements concerning art as a category of critical analysis, Deleuze's specific activities in respect to art extended to writing short exhibition catalogue essays for artists (for example on the French painter Gérard Fromanger), and making experimental music (with Richard Pinhas).
  Deleuze's preferred art works for his discussions encompassed a range of mediums, including music and sounds (birdsong), cinema, photography, the plastic arts (sculpture, painting and drawing), literature and architecture. Deleuze's philosophical interests also led him to discuss a number of performative and theatrical works, using examples from anthropology to make cultural and philosophical distinctions. Deleuze addresses the visual, aesthetic and perceptual terms of art through distinctive polemical methodologies drawn from the sciences, such as biological evolution, geological formations and concepts, and mathematics. Deleuze leans upon a critical assortment of art history critics, film critics, literary critics, architectural critics and musical critics throughout his philosophical practice: Wilhelm Worringer, Aloīs Riegl, Paul Claudel, Clement Greenberg, Lawrence Gowing, Georges Duthuit, Gregory Bateson, André Bazin, Chistian Metz, and Umberto Eco. As a writer, Deleuze's literary predecessors figure prominently (see work in Essays Critical and Clinical). His cognitive approach toward art comes from his adopted philosophical fathers including Immanuel Kant, Baruch Spinoza and Friedrich Nietzsche. In Nietzsche and Philosophy, Deleuze employs 'art' as a category of 'Critique', taking on Nietzsche's observation that the world is emotive and sensory, but any analysis of this world is bound by epistemological structures. For Deleuze, the descriptive nature of art lies with art's ability not merely to redescribe; rather art has a material capacity to evoke and to question through non-mimetic means, by producing different affects.
  Deleuze treats plastic art movements including Byzantine, the Gothic, the Baroque, Romanticism, Classicism, Primitive, Japanese, and Art Brut, as trans-historical concepts that contribute to the field of art through their various propositions and development of forms, aesthetics and associated affects. Singular artists, writers and composers including William Blake, Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, Paul Klee, Thomas Hardy, Marie Henri-Beyle Stendhal, Samuel Beckett, Antonin Artaud, William S. Burroughs, Lewis Carroll, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Franz Kafka, and Alain Robbe-Grillet are critically absorbed by Deleuze in terms of their respective enquiries into the creation of art forms that translate, illustrate and perform the forces of the world (such as desire), by making them visible. Deleuze mentions in passing an enormous range of artists of various mediums to make a point or an observation - from Igor Stravinsky to Patti Smith, from Diego Velásquez to Carl Andre. The means and methods by which art is able to transform material into sensory experience is of course part of the modernist contribution to art in the twentieth century. In his discussions concerning art, Deleuze is thus a contributor to the twentieth-century modernist canon.
  The methodology of art forms the core of Deleuze's study of Marcel Proust's work À la recherche du temps perdu (1913-27), a book that examines aspects of temporality, desire and memory. As in his book coauthored with Guattari on Kafka, in Proust, Deleuze understands art as being much more than a medium of expression.
  Deleuze's book Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation works through the complicated connections of Deleuze and Guattari's Body without Organs (BwO) and English painter Francis Bacon's treatment of the power and rhythms of the human body, to a discussion of the differences from and similarities to the work of French painter Cézanne of Bacon's own work. In this book, Deleuze privileges painting as an art form that affords a concrete apprehension of the forces that render a body. In Deleuze's final work coauthored with Guattari, What is Philosophy? 'art' is accorded a privileged position in their triad of philosophy, art and science. Art is an integral component of their three level operations of the cerebral quality of things (the brain-becoming-subject). In this book, 'art' as a category has developed into the means by which Deleuze and Guattari can operate affect, temporality, emotion, mortality, perception and becoming. The active, compounding creativity of artists' work are described as 'percepts' - independent aggregates of sensation that live beyond their creators. Deleuze and Guattari significantly comment that the inspiration for art is given by sensations; the affect of methods, materials, memories and objects: 'We paint, sculpt, compose, and write with sensations' (D&G 1994:166).
   § affect
   § experience
   § Kafka, Franz

The Deleuze dictionary. . 2010.


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