Here goes a tribute to surrealist painter René Magritte and his famous masterpiece The Treachery Of Images (La Trahison Des Images in French). It’s an upgraded version: now there are two levels of misunderstanding. It’s part of my “This Is Not” series.
Magritte was an admirer of architect and painter Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, a.k.a Le Corbusier, and probably took the pipe idea from his 1923 book Vers Une Architecture (Toward An Architecture). Inside the book there is a picture of a purist painting by Courbusier, very similar to Magritte’s Treachery Of Images, with the caption “A Briar Pipe”. In the early 20s, Corbusier and artist Amédée Ozenfant started developing a sort of post-Cubism theory called Purism, a study related to the standard objects of industrial culture, such as wheels and motors, “style” furniture, pipes, telephone receivers, café chairs, glass bottles and flasks, which they labelled “object-types”. A prototype of Andy Warhol’s pop art.
Magritte may also have taken the inspiration for his La Trahison Des Images from a comical sign he saw in an art gallery, which read, “Ceci n’est pas de l’Art” (“This is not Art”).
«The famous apple. How people reproached me for it! And yet, could you bite my apple? No, it’s just a representation, is it not? So if I had written on my picture “This is an apple”, I’d have been lying!»