chapter  6
30 Pages

COLOR

Cézanne faults the Impressionists for capturing only a fleeting and evanescent subjective experience, whereas his desire is to create “something solid and durable as in the art of the museums” (Cézanne 121). In a similar vein, Bacon remarks that he seeks more than a mere rendering of a momentary feeling, for “the potency of the image is created partly by the possibility of its enduring. And, of course, images accumulate sensation around themselves the longer they endure” (Sylvester 58). The problem of solidity and durability is in one sense a question of form and structure. As Maldiney stresses, Cézanne recognizes not only the diastolic expansion of universal color and light but also the systolic condensation of the forms of “stubborn geometry.” But it is also a question of objectivity, of providing a report of sensation that is more than subjective, a rendering of the world in which man is “absent but everywhere in the landscape,” according to Cézanne, a recording of a “matter of fact,” in Bacon’s terms. Cézanne and Bacon pursue a figural middle course between abstraction and conventional representation, Cézanne avoiding the diaphanous fogs of Impressionism and the clichés of academic realism, Bacon rejecting what he regards as the idealized geometrical forms of abstraction and the murky confusion of abstract expressionism, as well as the ready-made images of “illustration.” Both seek the truth of sensation and appearance, but the resemblance they pursue is “by

non-resemblant means” (FB 75), in Deleuze’s analysis. As Bacon says, he “deforms” his portraits “into appearance” (Sylvester 146), irrational, involuntary marks leading him to a more profound resemblance. “It’s an illogical method of making, an illogical way of attempting to make what one hopes will be a logical outcome-in the sense that one hopes one will be able to suddenly make the thing there in a totally illogical way but that it will be totally real and, in the case of a portrait, recognizable as the person” (Sylvester 105). For Cézanne the middle course of the figural proceeds via the “motif,” something that combines sensation and the solidity of a “framework” [charpente] (Cézanne 211); for Bacon, the graph, or diagram, opens the way to the nonrational resemblance of the matter of fact. Deleuze argues that the motif, or diagram, of the figural is what makes possible a durable sensation whereby it is possible “at the same time to render geometry concrete or sensed, and to give to sensation duration and clarity” (FB 73). How precisely does the diagram allow a sensation and a “framework” to combine?