Bacon Butoh Deleuze: images – review – background to the artistic project©

Since April 2014 I have been developing work on the paintings and life of Francis Bacon, Butoh dance and the philosopher Gilles Deleuze’s writings on Bacon. The performace premiered at the international touring Butoh Festival Moving Bodies Butoh Festival at the theatre Espace in Torino, The Firkin Crane in Cork; in Dublin it  was presented at the Hugh Lane Gallery and at the Temple Bar Galleries and at the CCA in Glasgow.

Images of the performance at Hugh Lane Gallery by photographer Ewa Figaszewska can be viewed here. Journalist Lorna Irvine wrote:

“…homage to the painter Francis Bacon (whose wry, laconic voice bookends the piece, talking of the ”violence and immediacy” of his work), half her own expressionist work, Ireland­ based dancer Bergamasco moves, spasming in an orange dress through a half­ lit space. Casting large shadows at either side of the room, she seems to be made of rubber and liable to collapse at any given time. This slow­-motion creeping is almost unbearably intense, the increasing unease compounded by the heat of the small room, blood red of the curtains and mood lighting. Occasionally, I feel like fainting watching her droop down, squeamish, almost fearful that she will not get through it. A little blood from a small cut trickles down her bare leg as she bends, almost melting, into a small orange chair. Bergamasco is almost at odds with her own body where each movement seems like a betrayal, her face contorting and eyes lolling back in their sockets as she silently screams. Evolving into a feral creature, she eats the petals from flowers on the floor and spits them out like confetti. Reminiscent of Bacon’s disturbing Triptych ­Studies from the Human Body paintings from 1970,which depict distorted heads and blurred bodies, this is a unique exploration of the other. Her discomfort is our discomfort; her fears our own hidden fears”. (



Images: Ken Mai


The focus of this work and ongoing research hinges on the interconnection between Francis Bacon Butoh dance and the post-structuralist French philosopher Gilles Deleuze. The research started and developed thank to the month residency in Dance Ireland/Dance House in April 2014. This work/study/research, besides the performing element, will be also presented and developed academically with Prof. Kearns (NUIM); a participatory video platform will be created with video-artist Michela Orlandi. The work is the result of the month long residency at Dance House in April 2014.

In developing the piece, I engaged both with the artistic and personal life of the artist. In particular I gave attention to Bacon’s obsession for the mouth, his love for curtains, his asthmatic condition which Ambra interprets as breath and movement shifts from stillness to explosion of life, to the concept of icon and the perpetual movement.



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