Rosalind E. Krauss, Yve-Alain Bois: Formless. A User’s Guide, 1997

So it is neither the “form” nor the “content” that interests Bataille, but the operation that displaces both of these terms.

In this operation of slippage we see a version of what Bataille calls the informe (formless). Not with the idea, of course, of making Manet a precursor (though it is worth noting that critics of the time characterized Olympia’s body—which some likened to a rotting corpse—as “formless”),((13) See Clark, The Painting of Modern Life, pp. 92 and 97.) and even less in hopes of delineating a genealogy of the term, as one might do with the history of an idea; but precisely because it is an operation (which is to say, neither a theme, nor a substance, nor a concept) and that to this end it participates in the general movement of Bataille’s thought, which he liked to call “scatology” or “heterology” (and of which historically the informe constitutes the first operation specified in his writings).

Krauss, Rosalind E., and Yve-Alain Bois. Formless: A User’s Guide. New York, NY: Zone Books, 1997.