A-theology and the recovery of the sacred in Bataille and Bacon

Rina Arya

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In this paper I want to examine the relationship between “a-theology” and the sacred in the select works by Georges Bataille (1897-1962) and the artist Francis Bacon (1909-1992). Throughout their work Bataille and Bacon express the influence of religion (in the sense of the institutions of religion) through their employment of images of the Christian faith. However, their use of the images of Christianity is not theological in the sense that they are not employing the images to support theological truths. They are instead using the images to articulate the “death of God”. Their art occupies a position which is outside the institutions of religion and yet remains fascinated by the images. In other words, they are only able to express their disillusionment through continual reference to that tradition. How then is it possible to describe their work which, in some sense, is dependent on a theological inheritance but is also strongly repelled by this heritage?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-72
Number of pages13
JournalLa Revue Silène
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


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