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Suzanne Hme de Lacotte : Iconoclasme de Gilles Deleuze ?

/ Iconoclasm of Gilles Deleuze?

Iconoclasme de Gilles Deleuze ? Iconoclasm of Gilles Deleuze?


Deleuze, limage, le cinma et limage de la Deleuze, the image, the cinema, and the image
pense of thought
Suzanne Hme de Lacotte Translation by Patrick-Guy Desjardins

Je souhaiterais aborder la question de limage chez Deleuze et en I would like to address the issue of image in Deleuze's work and, in
particulier essayer de dmontrer dans quelle mesure limage peut particular, to try to demonstrate how the image may be regarded as
tre considre comme l autre du concept, la fois son allie the concept's "other", its necessary ally but a danger to it also. The
ncessaire mais aussi un danger son gard. On a souvent tudi importance of image in the philosophers work, especially of the
limportance de limage dans luvre du philosophe, en particulier image in cinema, has been discussed often; for my part I would like
de limage cinmatographique. Je voudrais pour ma part mettre to put forward the hypothesis of an iconoclasm of Gilles Deleuze,
lhypothse dun iconoclasme de Gilles Deleuze, cest--dire, non which is to say not only the rejection of any form of representation,
seulement le refus de toute forme de reprsentation, mais aussi la but also the disappearance, in his work, of the notion of image in
disparition, dans son uvre, de la notion dimage au profit dune favour of a revaluation of the concept. I must add that the study of
revalorisation du concept. Il me faut ajouter que ltude de limage image in Deleuze's work can only be done when taking into account
chez Deleuze ne peut se faire que si on prend en compte un certain a certain type of image that is very particular and essential to
type dimage trs particulier et essentiel pour apprhender la apprehend the philosopher's thought: the image of thought.
pense du philosophe : limage de la pense.
Pour bien comprendre de quoi il retourne, il faut revenir la critique To correctly understand what it is about, we must go back to
du platonisme opre par Deleuze, critique qui doit aboutir ce quil Deleuze's critique of Platonism, a critique that should lead to what
appelle un renversement du platonisme . Deleuze crit, dans he calls a reversal of platonism. Deleuze writes, in Difference and
Diffrence et rptition : La premire distinction rigoureuse tablie Repetition: The primary distinction which Plato rigorously
par Platon est celle du modle et de la copie. 1 Renverser le establishes is one between the model and the copy.1 Reversing
platonisme, comme il le propose dans Logique du sens, Platonism, as he suggests in The Logic of Sense, consists of


Ce texte est la retranscription dune communication lue le 13 juillet 2010 This paper was read on July 13, 2010, in Amsterdam, during the Third
Amsterdam lors des Third International Deleuze Studies Conference. Il International Deleuze Studies Conference. A few elements here presented
reprend et rsume des arguments dvelopps dans ma thse de doctorat, and summarized come from my Ph.D. thesis, Le cinma et limage de la
Le cinma et limage de la pense. pense.

Suzanne Hme de Lacotte (suzannedelacotte@yahoo.fr) est docteur en Suzanne Hme de Lacotte (suzannedelacotte@yahoo.fr) has a Ph.D. in
esthtique. Elle enseigne lesthtique du cinma lUniversit Paris 1 Esthetics. She teaches esthetics of cinema at the Universit Paris 1
Panthon-Sorbonne et lUniversit dOrlans. Panthon-Sorbonne and at the Universit dOrlans.
1
1 Gilles Deleuze, Diffrence et rptition, Paris, Presses Universitaires de Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, translation by Paul Patton,
France, Epimthe , 1968, p. 340. New York, Columbia University Press, 1994, p. 264.

TRAHIR Premire anne, dcembre 2010 -2-


TRAHIR Suzanne Hme de Lacotte : Iconoclasme de Gilles Deleuze ?
/ Iconoclasm of Gilles Deleuze?
consiste dtruire cette distinction, cette hirarchie, qui, aux yeux destroying this distinction, this hierarchy which, in Deleuze's eyes, is
de Deleuze, fonde toute la pense mtaphysique dite classique et the ground of all the said classical metaphysical thought, and
subordonne la pense au modle du Mme . Limage, dans la subordinates thought to the model of the Same. In classical
tradition mtaphysique classique, fonctionnerait selon le schme de metaphysical tradition, the image would operate according to the
la reprsentation. Or cest prcisment contre toute forme de scheme of representation. Yet it is precisely against any form of
reprsentation que slabore la pense deleuzienne, pour affirmer representation that the Deleuzian thought elaborates itself, to assert
des singularits qui sexpriment travers des intensits. singularities that are expressing through intensities.
On trouve dans Diffrence et rptition, mais aussi dans Proust et les We find in Difference and Repetition, but also in Proust and Signs, a
signes, un usage trs particulier du terme image dans lexpression very particular use of the word image in the phrase image of
image de la pense . Limage de la pense dsigne lensemble des thought. The image of thought indicates the set of philosophically
prsupposs subjectifs, non fonds philosophiquement, partir unfounded, subjective presuppositions from which we designate
desquels on dsigne ce que penser signifie. Toujours dans Diffrence what to think means. Also in Difference and Repetition, the image of
et rptition, limage de la pense est associe la mtaphysique : thought is associated with metaphysics: Deleuze evokes a dogmatic
Deleuze voque une image dogmatique de la pense fonde sur le image of thought based on the presupposition of the Same. All of the
prsuppos du Mme. Toute lentreprise deleuzienne consistera se Deleuzian undertaking is to get rid of this dogmatic, or classical,
dfaire de cette image dogmatique, ou classique, de la pense au image, in favour of a thought without image.
profit dune pense sans image .
On comprend alors que limage est ce dont il faut se dfaire pour We now understand that image is what has to be destroyed in order
atteindre une pense dlie de tout prsuppos subjectif qui to achieve a thought unbound from all subjective presupposition
prtendrait pourtant se constituer en fondement objectif. Une that would, nevertheless, claim to be constituting an objective
premire tape dans luvre de Gilles Deleuze associe donc limage ground. A first step in Gilles Deleuze's work associates the image to
la reprsentation, la fidlit un modle transcendant. Le representation, to fidelity to a transcendent model. By calling for a
philosophe amorce une condamnation de limage travers lappel thought without image that would get rid of subjective
une pense sans image qui permettrait de se dfaire des presuppositions at the origin metaphysical thought, the philosopher
prsupposs subjectifs lorigine de la pense mtaphysique : la initiates a condemnation of the image: thought does not have to
pense na pas se soumettre lexigence du Mme et rechercher subject itself to the requirement of the Same, and looking for a
un fondement la pense est une entreprise voue lchec. ground to thought is an undertaking that is bound to fail.
Cette premire dfinition de limage va rapidement laisser place This first definition of image will quickly give way to a second one. In
une seconde. Limage va acqurir une valeur positive en devenant becoming process, the image will acquire a positive value.
processus . En outre, Deleuze va dvelopper sa philosophie dans Moreover, Deleuze will develop his philosophy in the direction of
le sens de laffirmation dune dimension non-philosophique de celle- asserting its non-philosophical dimension. This is why he will
ci. Cest la raison pour laquelle il convoquera une nouvelle image summon a new image of thought instead of a thought without
de la pense en lieu et place dune pense sans image. La image. To constitute itself, philosophy is in need of the non-
philosophie a besoin du non-philosophique pour se constituer. Do philosophical. Hence the importance, in What is Philosophy?, of the
limportance du plan dimmanence dans Quest-ce que la plane of immanence but also of the percepts and affects, specifically
philosophie ?, mais aussi des percepts et des affects, propres la characteristic of artistic thought, which bear close relationships to
pense artistique, qui entretiennent des rapports troits avec le the concept.
concept.

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TRAHIR Suzanne Hme de Lacotte : Iconoclasme de Gilles Deleuze ?
/ Iconoclasm of Gilles Deleuze?
Limage qui tait jusqualors associe la pense mtaphysique The image that was until then associated with classical metaphysical
classique, devient un horizon pour la pense moderne qui sest thought becomes a horizon for the modern thought that got rid of
dfait de la fidlit un modle. Dans Logique du sens, une note de fidelity to a model. In The Logic of Sense, a footnote is particularly
bas de page est particulirement clairante. Il sagit dun extrait dun illuminating. This is an excerpt from an article by Maurice Blanchot,
article de Maurice Blanchot, Le Rire des dieux , paru dans la The Laughter of the Gods, published in the Nouvelle Revue
Nouvelle Revue Franaise en juillet 1965 et qui voque : Un univers Franaise of July 1965 referring to a universe in which the image
o limage cesse dtre seconde par rapport au modle, o ceases to be secondary in relation to the model, in which imposture
limposture prtend la vrit, o enfin il ny a plus doriginal, mais lays claim to truth, in which, finally, there is no longer an original,
une ternelle scintillation o se disperse, dans lclat du dtour et du but only an eternal scintillation where the absence of origin, in the
retour, labsence dorigine 2. splendour of diversion and reversion, is dispersed.2
Comme lcrit Marie-Claire Ropars-Wuilleumier, limage nest pas As Marie-Claire Ropars-Wuilleumier writes, The image is not an
une entit, pas davantage quelle ne se ramne un objet ; elle est, entity, just as it cannot be reduced to an object; it is process, in the
selon lexpression de Deleuze, processus 3. Mais alors, si limage words of Deleuze.3 But then, if the image does not refer to anything
ne renvoie rien dautre quelle-mme, ne se confond-elle pas avec other than itself, would it not confound itself with the world?
le monde ?
Cette question trouve un cho particulier dans les deux ouvrages This question resonates particularly in the two books Deleuze
que Deleuze a consacrs au cinma, Limage-mouvement et Limage- devoted to cinema, The Movement-Image and The Time-Image, where
temps, o il reprend la dfinition de limage propose par Bergson : he uses the definition of the image that Bergson put forth: an image
une image est un ensemble dactions et de ractions de la matire is an ensemble of actions and reactions of matter upon itself, without
sur elle-mme, sans aucune rfrence une quelconque reference to any transcendence.
transcendance.
Nous nous demandons ds lors comment aborder les deux livres : We then ask ourselves how to approach the two books: is it a
sagit-il dune rflexion sur limage cinmatographique, ou bien sur reflection on the cinematic image, or image in general, or on the
limage en gnral, ou encore sur le monde dont limage world that has the cinematographic image as its preferred
cinmatographique serait une expression privilgie ? Cinma peut expression? Cinema can indeed be seen as the proposition of a new
en effet tre vu comme la proposition dune nouvelle gense du genesis of the world, through taking account of the cinematographic
monde travers la prise en compte des images cinmatographiques. images.
Nous navons pas le temps de revenir dans le dtail sur le statut des We do not have time to go over the details of the cinematic images
images cinmatographiques propos dans ces deux ouvrages. status these two books offer. Lets note only one essential point:

2
2 Maurice Blanchot, Le Rire des dieux , Nouvelle Revue franaise, juillet Our emphasis. Translation by Mark Lester and Charles Stivale, The Logic of
1965, p. 103, cit par Gilles Deleuze in Logique du sens, Paris, ditions de Sense, p. 362, n. 8.
Minuit, Critique , 1969, p. 303. Nous soulignons.
3
3 Marie-Claire Ropars-Wuilleumier, Lide dimage, Vincennes, Presses Our translation.
Universitaires de Vincennes, Esthtiques hors cadre , 1995, p. 18.

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TRAHIR Suzanne Hme de Lacotte : Iconoclasme de Gilles Deleuze ?
/ Iconoclasm of Gilles Deleuze?
Notons seulement un point essentiel : limage est revalorise et image is revalued and Deleuze extricated a particular link between
Deleuze dgage un lien tout particulier entre limage the cinematic image and the concept. The goal of the philosopher in
cinmatographique et le concept : lobjectif du philosophe dans The Movement-Image and The Time-Image is to bring out cinemas
Limage-mouvement et Limage-temps est de dgager les concepts specific concepts through the study of their images: the movement-
propres du cinma travers ltude de leurs images : limage- image, the time-image, and their declensions are concepts that
mouvement, limage-temps et leurs dclinaisons sont des concepts belong specifically to cinema.
qui appartiennent spcifiquement au cinma.
loccasion dun entretien avec Raymond Bellour et Franois Ewald, On the occasion of a conversation with Raymond Bellour and
Deleuze revient sur son parcours de philosophe : une premire Franois Ewald, Deleuze reflects on his journey as a philosopher: the
priode aurait t consacre lhistoire de la philosophie, une first period would have been devoted to the history of philosophy, a
seconde priode correspondrait au travail en commun de Deleuze et second period would correspond to the joint work of Deleuze and
Guattari pour laborer leur propre philosophie, et une troisime Guattari, working out their own philosophy, and a third period:
priode o il sagit pour [lui] de peinture et de cinma, dimages en Then lets suppose theres a third period when I worked on painting
apparence. Mais ce sont des livres de philosophie. Cest que le and cinema: images, on the face of it. But I was writing philosophy
concept [] comporte deux autres dimensions, celles du percept et books. [] I think concepts involve two other dimensions, percepts
de laffect. Cest cela qui mintresse, non les images 4. Deleuze rcuse and affects. Thats what interests me, not images.4 Deleuze
lui-mme lintrt quil avait pourtant bien sembl manifester pour challenges the interest for image he seemed to show himself. During
limage. Cette ide est exprime plus radicalement loccasion dun a lecture on cinema, this idea is expressed more radically:
cours sur le cinma :
Jai dj annonc, il y a deux ans, trois ans, que jen avais fini de I have already announced, two years, three years ago, that I
parler de cinma et puis jen ai encore pour un an. Aprs was done speaking of cinema, and then, I have one more year
vraiment [] ce sera fini. [] Peut-tre que certains dentre to go. After, really [...] it will be over. [...] Perhaps some of you
vous [] se sont aperu au cours des dernires annes [] ce [...] became aware during recent years [...] what interested me
qui mintressait, ctait lintroduction la question Quest-ce was the introduction to the question What is philosophy?, to
que la philosophie ? laquelle ensuite partir de lanne which, starting next year, I will dedicate myself to with all my
prochaine je me consacrerai de toutes mes forces5. strength5.
Un aperu rapide de luvre de Deleuze nous indique que limage A brief survey of the work of Deleuze shows that, after the
disparat quasi totalement de ses livres aprs la parution de Cinma. publication of Cinema, the image almost entirely disappears from his
Quest-ce que la philosophie ?, ouvrage testamentaire de Deleuze, ne books. What is Philosophy?, a testament book for Deleuze, ignores
fait aucun cas des tudes prcdents sur limage. Si limage de la previous studies on image. If the image of thought really plays an
pense y occupe bien une place essentielle, les images, quelles essential part, images, whether cinematographic or not, are no
soient cinmatographiques ou non, ne sont plus un objet dtude. longer an object of study. Deleuze dedicates his full attention to the
Deleuze consacre toute son attention au concept. concept.

4 Gilles Deleuze, Pourparlers, Paris, ditions de Minuit, 1990, p.187. Cest 4


Our emphasis. Gilles Deleuze, Negotiations 1972-1990, translation by
nous qui soulignons. Martin Joughin, Columbia University Press, 1995, p. 137.
5 Gilles Deleuze, cours sur le cinma du 30 octobre 1984 lUniversit de 5
Translation from the original: lecture on cinema, October 20, 1984, at the
Paris 8 (Vincennes). Universit Paris 8 (Vincennes).

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TRAHIR Suzanne Hme de Lacotte : Iconoclasme de Gilles Deleuze ?
/ Iconoclasm of Gilles Deleuze?
Et si limage constituait une preuve affronter pour renforcer la What if the image was a challenge to face, in order to strengthen
philosophie ? Cela expliquerait pourquoi le cinma a pris une telle philosophy? This would explain why cinema, before disappearing,
importance chez Deleuze avant de disparatre. Cest en has become of such importance for Deleuze. It is by multiplying the
dmultipliant les points de contact possibles entre lactivit possible contact points between conceptual activity and image that
conceptuelle et limage que la philosophie semble sortir grandie, philosophy ended up seeming to have grown, hence the question
do la question qui surgit la fin de Limage-temps : Quest-ce que that arises at the end of The Time-Image: What is philosophy?
la philosophie ?
Cette proposition thorique peut tre poursuivie et mme This theoretical proposition can be pursued and even radicalized. In
radicalise. Dans Quest-ce que la philosophie ?, limage semble avoir What is Philosophy?, the image seems to have disappeared from
disparu de lunivers philosophique de Deleuze. Il ne faudrait pas Deleuze's philosophical universe. However, we should not overlook
pour autant mconnatre limportance de Lpuis , un court texte the importance of The Exhausted, a short text published just a year
paru tout juste un an plus tard. Limage est nouveau au cur de la later. The image is again at the heart of Deleuze's thinking, and it is
rflexion deleuzienne, et cest dsormais l image pure que now a pure image that Deleuze seeks to reach: It is extremely
Deleuze cherche atteindre : Il est trs difficile de faire une image difficult to make a pure, unsullied, that is nothing but image, arriving
pure, non entache, rien quune image, en atteignant au point o elle at the point where it suddenly appears in all its singularity, retaining
surgit dans toute sa singularit sans rien garder de personnel, pas nothing of the personal, nor of the rational, and ascending into the
plus que de rationnel, et en accdant lindfini comme ltat indefinite as into a celestial state.6 Below language, the image
cleste. 6 En de du langage, limage devient cette sorte de pointe becomes this kind of indistinct tip between matter and spirit, which
indistincte entre la matire et lesprit, qui manifeste lvnement en manifests the event as such. The image is not an object but a
tant que tel. Limage nest pas un objet mais un processus 7 crit process7 Deleuze writes again. For now on "The Exhausted" will
encore Deleuze. Lpuis ne cessera plus ds lors dinsister sur un never cease to insist on a new trait of Deleuzes work that concerns
trait nouveau dans luvre de Deleuze et qui concerne spcifi- the image: specifically its self-dissipation, which derives precisely
quement limage : son autodissipation, qui dcoule prcisment du from the fact that, in its pure form, it is unlimited energy, a
fait quelle est, ltat pur, une nergie sans limite, une potentialit potentiality that does not embody and therefore doomed to
qui ne sincarne pas et qui est, ds lors, voue la disparition : Ce disappearance: It is not the meager contents that are important in
qui compte dans limage, ce nest pas le pauvre contenu, mais la folle the image, but the energy mad, captive, and ready to explode that
nergie capte prte clater, qui fait que les images ne durent ensures that the images never last long. The images merge with the
jamais longtemps. Elles se confondent avec la dtonation, la detonation, the combustion, the dissipation of their condensed
combustion, la dissipation de leur nergie condense. 8 Bref, limage energy.8 In short, within itself, the image contains its self-
contient en elle-mme son principe dautodestruction. destruction principle.

6
6 Gilles Deleuze, Lpuis , in Samuel Beckett, Quad et autres pices pour Gilles Deleuze, The Exhausted, translation by Anthony Uhlmann, in
la tlvision, Paris, Editions de Minuit, 1992, p. 70-71. SubStance, vol. 24, no. 3, issue 78, 1995, p. 8-9.
7
7 Ibid., p. 72. Ibid., p. 9.
8
8 Ibid., p. 76. Ibid., p. 11.

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TRAHIR Suzanne Hme de Lacotte : Iconoclasme de Gilles Deleuze ?
/ Iconoclasm of Gilles Deleuze?
Dans Lpuis , Deleuze aboutit la conclusion que limage est In The Exhausted, Deleuze comes to the conclusion that the image
pleinement spirituelle, elle est lintensit en tant que telle, qui na is fully spiritual; it is intensity as such, as it does not need to be
pas besoin de sinscrire dans un tat de choses pour tre pensable. inscribed in a state of matter to be thinkable. The image, as
Limage telle quelle nous est prsente ici par Deleuze marque presented here to us by Deleuze, marks the culmination of a long-
laboutissement dune tentative de dfinition au long cours, qui va de running attempt at definition from its condemnation, when
sa condamnation tant quelle est comprise comme une simple understood as a simple representation, to its promotion, when
reprsentation, sa promotion lorsque Deleuze se donne pour tche Deleuze takes upon the task of giving it a definition that makes it a
den donner une dfinition qui fait delle un pur mouvement, pure movement, synonymous with matter. With the publication of
synonyme de matire. Avec la parution de Lpuis , Deleuze The Exhausted, Deleuze continues this process until... exhaustion.
poursuit ce processus jusqu puisement : limage nest plus que The image is no longer only thinkable, it no longer bears any relation
pensable, elle nentretient plus aucun rapport avec le sensible. to the sensitive.
La philosophie deleuzienne semble bien avoir suivi la voie dune Deleuzian philosophy seems to have followed a path of putting the
mise mort de limage. Nous retrouvons, dans le traitement que image to death. In the manner in which Deleuze treats the image, we
Deleuze rserve limage, toute lambigut qui caractrise sa find again the ambiguity that characterizes his philosophy despite all
philosophie : malgr tous ses efforts pour affirmer les puissances his efforts to assert the vital powers, he borders dissolution of all
vitales, il ctoie la dissolution de toute pense. Ncrira-t-il pas, dans thought. Does he not write, in What is Philosophy?, that The
Quest-ce que la philosophie ?, que le philosophe, le savant, lartiste philosopher, the scientist, and the artist seem to return from the
semblent revenir du pays des morts ?9 land of the dead.9

9
9 Gilles Deleuze et Flix Guattari, Quest-ce que la philosophie ?, Paris, Gilles Deleuze and Flix Guattari, What is philosophy?, translation by
ditions de Minuit, Critique , 1991, p. 190. Graham Burchell and Hugh Tomlinson, Verso, 1994, p. 202.

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