Commonplace 11

 

The commonplace image that I am choosing to write about today is a painting by René Magritte titled “ Ceci n’est pas une pipe”. The painting consists of a pipe, and the words written underneath. In english, this french sentences translates to “ This is not a pipe”. This image is a from a collection of Magritte’s “treachery of images”. The treachery of images is a collection of paintings that all convey a similar message. Magritte is arguing that, us as a society, tack on and assume words and physical objects are the same thing. We assume the material object of a pipe and the word pipe are the same thing. Magritte is playing with the concept that meaning and thing have no relationship. Almost like the word is merely a shadow of the thing it’s representing. This philosophy parallels plato with his philosophy of the cave. Where the people in the cave see the shadows of the passerby’s as the real thing because that’s all they know. But when set free from the cave, they soon come to realize that the shadows they were seeing were a smaller fraction of a larger picture, and that the relationship between thing and the representation of the thing are two very different things. This painting is merely exemplifying that philosophy saying that a pipe and the word pipe aren’t the same thing.

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