Commitment to A Life: Thinking Beyond Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s Conceptualization of Art
L'Heureux, Antoine. 2011. Commitment to A Life: Thinking Beyond Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s Conceptualization of Art. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]
Abstract or Description
This thesis takes as its point of departure Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s conceptualization of art. Art for them is the expression of A Life in the living. A Life is the ontological and genetic condition of that which we are and ordinarily experience, it is the vital and material transcendental plane of immanence which characterizes Deleuze and Guattari’s ontology. Their conceptualization of art, however, sits uncomfortably with contemporary art in rejecting conceptual and photographic practices, and in its radical rejection of human experience. The aim of this thesis is to expand their conceptualization of art whilst remaining close to what is argued to be its core or essence: a commitment to A Life. This thesis explores three paradigms of commitment to A Life that move beyond the paradigm of A Life in the living. These paradigms are developed through the application of concepts developed by Deleuze and Guattari to contemporary mediums and artworks, with the aim of broadening the relevance of their philosophy for contemporary artistic practices. Deleuze and Guattari’s aesthetics is analyzed and expanded through an engagement with works by Francis Bacon, Thomas Struth, Pierre Huyghe, Francis Alÿs and Peter Doig. By finding a commonality between these artists in their commitment to A Life, this thesis hopes to develop a conceptualization of art which allows us to understand how contemporary art practices engage with A Life, the infinite inside which we live and which lives inside us.