“art has the most intimate knowledge of disease,” says Serge Diaghilev in Robert David MacDonald’s Chinchilla. But is the artist, Francis Bacon, who expresses, inoculated in the way that the perverse philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, who incorporates, is paralysed? Is this the Kafka-effect of “The Burrow”?

Returning to a bottomless abyss that he renewed and dug out afresh, that is where Nietzsche perished in his own manner. It would be preferable to say that he “quasi-perished;” for sickness and death are the event itself, subject as such to a double causality: that of bodies, states of affairs, and mixtures, but also that of the quasi-cause which represents the state of organisation or disorganisation of the incorporeal surface. Nietzsche, it seems, became insane and died of general paralysis, a corporeal syphilitic mixture. But the pathway which this event followed, this time in relation to the quasi-cause inspiring his entire work and co-inspiring his life, has nothing to do with his general paryalysis, the ocular migraines and the vomiting from which he suffered, with the exception of giving them a new causality, that is, an eternal truth independent of their corporeal realisation – thus a style in an oeuvre instead of a mixture in the body. We see no other way of raising the question of the relations between an oeuvre and illness except by means of this double causality.

– Gilles Deleuze, The Logic of Sense, p. 123

Paralytic Child Walking On All Fours (From Muybridge) by Francis Bacon, 1961

This is a world of terror and cruelty, of incest and anthropophagy. But there is of course another story, namely, the story of that which, from the Heraclitean world, is able to climb to the surface and receive an entirely new status. This is the event in its difference in nature from causes-bodies, the Aion in its difference in nature from the devouring Chronos. In a parallel manner, Platonism undergoes a similar total reorientation. It had aspired to bury the pre-Socratic world even deeper, to repress it even more, and to crush it under the full weight of the heights; but now we see it deprived of its own height, and the Idea again falls to the surface as a simple incorporeal effect. … What are we to call this new philosophical operation, insofar as it opposes at once Platonic conversion and pre-Socratic subversion? Perhaps we can call it “perversion,” which at least befits the system of provocations of this new type of philosopher – if it is true that perversion implies an extraordinary art of surfaces.

– Gilles Deleuze, op. cit., pp. 150-151