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Painting and the Question of Concepts: Lecture 4, 05 May 1981

Listed in Datasets publication by group The Deleuze Seminars

By Gilles Deleuze

Lecture given by French philosopher Gilles Deleuze at the University of Paris 8, 05 May 1981. This is lecture 4 of an 8-lecture seminar Deleuze taught between March and June 1981.

Version 1.0 - published on 28 Nov 2017 doi:10.4231/R7K64G8W - cite this Archived on 29 Dec 2017

Licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported



The Deleuze Seminars is a collection of audio recordings, transcriptions, and English translations of, and supplemental materials from, the lectures French philosopher Gilles Deleuze gave during his career at the University of Paris 8.

“Painting and the Question of Concepts” was an 8-lecture seminar given from late March to early June of 1981. In this seminar, Deleuze critiques aesthetic theories which treat art as ‘representation’, presenting instead his own aesthetic concepts. Many of the concepts and works of art discussed herein also appear in Deleuze’s book published the same year, Francis Bacon-Logique de la sensation (Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation), making “Painting and the Question of Concepts” an important companion to Deleuze’s book.

In the 05 May 1981 lecture, topics of discussion include: the three diagrammatic positions (expressionist, abstraction, figural); Kandinsky; Piet Mondrian; French writer Michel Butor; Auguste Herbin; a definition of painting as it would be constructed from Deleuze’s concept of diagram; digital language and analogic language; Charles Sanders Peirce and his theory of icons; British anthropologist and linguist Gregory Bateson and the language of dolphins; modulation of light and colors; and Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the Essay on the Origin of Languages.

This dataset includes: three mp3 recordings of the lecture (total time, 2:34:24), an aggregate version of the audio recordings into a single mp3, and the complete French transcription of the recorded lecture in both pdf (35 pp) and plain text.

Note: The aggregate audio file has downsampled.


Les Séminaires de Deleuze sont une collection d'enregistrements audio, de transcriptions et de traductions en anglais et de documents complémentaires des conférences que le philosophe français Gilles Deleuze a donné lors de sa carrière à l'Université de Paris 8.

«La peinture et la question des concepts» était un séminaire de 8 conférences donné de fin mars à début juin 1981. Dans ce séminaire, Deleuze critique les théories esthétiques qui traitent l'art comme «représentation», présentant ses propres concepts esthétiques. Beaucoup de concepts et d'œuvres d'art décrites ici apparaissent également dans le livre de Deleuze publié la même année, Francis Bacon-Logique de la sensation, faisant de «La peinture et de la question des concepts» un important compagnon de le livre de Deleuze.

Dans la lecture du 05 mai 1981, les sujets de discussion comprennent: de trois positions diagrammatiques (expressionniste, de l’abstraction, figurale); Kandinsky; Piet Mondrian; l'écrivain français Michel Butor; Auguste Herbin; une définition de la peinture car elle serait construite à partir du concept de diagramme de Deleuze; le langage digital et le langage analogique; Charles Sanders Peirce et sa théorie des icônes; l'anthropologue et linguiste britannique Gregory Bateson et le langage des dauphins; la modulation de la lumière et des couleurs; et Jean-Jacques Rousseau et Essai sur l'origine des langues.

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This research has been generously supported through a grant from the College of Liberal Arts, Purdue University.

The description of this dataset is based on the meticulous work of Frédéric Astier, whose Les cours enregistrés de Gilles Deleuze, 1979-1987 has catalogued Deleuze’s seminars for those years.

Special thanks to the family of Gilles Deleuze and the University of Paris 8 for permission to reproduce the material published here.

The Deleuze Seminars

The Deleuze Seminars group image

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