This is Not a Pipe
What does it mean to write "This is not a pipe" across a bluntly literal painting of a pipe? Ren Magritte's famous canvas provides the starting point for a delightful homage by the French philosopher-historian Michel Foucault. Much better known for his incisive and mordant explorations of power and social exclusion, Foucault here assumes a more playful stance. By exploring the nuances and ambiguities of Magritte's visual critique of language, he finds the painter less removed than previously thought from the pioneers of modern abstraction--"confronting them and within a common system, a figure at once opposed and complementary."
Foucault's brief but extraordinarily rich essay offers a startling, highly provocative view of a painter whose influence and popularity continue to grow unchecked. This is Not a Pipe also throws a new, piquantly dancing light on Foucault himself.
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Klee Kandinsky Magritte
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ambiguous ascendancy of poetry Bataille de I'Argonne blackboard blance calligraphic canvas common ground Condition humaine courtesy of Draeger curtain Decalcomanie discourse easel edition elements evokes fata morgana figure frame Graces naturelles Guillaume Apollinaire Harry Torczyner heterotopias higher pipe invisible L'Explication 1952 La Condition humaine landscape language Las Meninas Letters by Rene linguistic Literally Lunette d'approche Madame Recamier Magritte's drawing Magritte's Pipe Maitre Imprimeur marchant vers I'horizon Menil Foundation Michel Foucault mimetic mirror Mots n'est non-place object painter painting pas une pipe Paul Klee Personnage marchant vers Perspective Photo courtesy pipe drawn plastic play Private collection recognizable Rene Magritte repre Representation 1962 representing resem resemblance and affirmation sentation sentence shadow shape signification insofar silhouette simulacrum Soir qui tombe space statement surface Surrealist tion Tombeau translation trompe-l'ceil Unraveled Calligram visible visual Wassily Kandinsky words and things written York at Albany