Bacon’s skin

In his Self-Portrait (1973), Francis Bacon demonstrates Michel Serres’s idea of

the skin as a variety of our mingled [or, in Bacon’s case, mangled] senses

(quoted in Steven Connor’s introduction to Michel Serres, The Five Senses: A Philosophy of Mingled Bodies, trans. Margaret Sankey and Peter Crowley [1985; London; NY: Continuum, 2009] 3; see 5).

Serres on the skin 1

Serres on the Skin 2


Francis Bacon, Self-Portrait (1973).

“For me, realism is an attempt to capture the appearance with the cluster of sensations that the appearance [here his self] arouses in me” (letter to Michel Leiris, 20 Nov. 1981).

If Bacon realistically captures the cluster of sensations that is his self here, the “soul” that touches the world in the convoluted whorl of his skin is less “changing, shimmering, fleeting” than oddly static, smeared, and lumpen (see “Creatures of habit[us]: bundle theories of the self“). We know this of Bacon, but he still fascinates as still life.


One thought on “Bacon’s skin

  1. Pingback: Creatures of habit(us): bundle theories of the self « Te Ipu Pakore

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s