What does Deleuze offer the Art teacher?

What might visual art teachers take from the work of Gilles Deleuze? This question is posed by David R.Cole in Art, Artists and Pedagogy. Cole in chapter three ‘Dicing the meat’ undertakes a detailed analysis of several Deleuzian concepts in the context of art taught in the curriculum. Taking as a point of reference the portrait of Michel Leiris by Francis Bacon, Cole considers Deleuze’s concept of ‘rhythm’.

Rhythm becomes the ‘dynamic movement’ between space and process, providing a ‘co-constitution’ or the opposite, the potential to disintegrate. Rhythm is not easily quantified or measured, it is something that is felt, in the onlooker and artist. This depiction of rhythm includes the myths and legends that may surround a subject, brought into play in Bacon’s portrait. Cole also refers to the concept of the ‘body without organs’ where Deleuze – after Artaud - refers to sensation of the artwork as a felt process – looking for the affective in a painting through unconscious feelings.

This working with art, removes the predictable, to see what may come next. Cole suggests, with reference to Deleuze, that examining a painting such as Bacon’s Michel Leiris, is a chance to engage with and not deny sensation. Finally, Cole produces a number of recommendations for what can be done at this point in schools given curriculum restraints. These include examining Bacon’s paintings to see what might work in extraordinary ways, with extraordinary objects, in a cross-disciplinary context.

By re-examining the visual artwork with Deleuze, utilizing his writing on Bacon, concepts that lie hidden, can be put to work. The student can respond to artwork as validating their sensation, seeing ‘rhythm’ in the operation of the onlooker and artist across disciplines.

For more on this see the Art, Artists and Pedagogy website: Art, Artists and Pedagogy contact Chris Naughton: chris@academicservices.biz

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