This is Not a Pipe —

One of the most famous images from the Dada period of art and literature comes from the brush of the Belgian painter René Magritte:

As you see, it’s a painting of a pipe, with the words written on it, Ceci n’est pas une pipe.

This is Not a Pipe

Absurd? Well, absurdity was the heart and soul of Dada. But it is, of course, a literal statement of fact: This is a painting. It is simply a painted image. No matter how much it LOOKS like a pipe, this is not a pipe. It is a painting.

Either the joke leaves you cold, or it delights you, as it does me, with its literal absurdity, its absurd literalness. So when I took a picture of my living room wall one afternoon and saw on the computer how it had come out, I was tickled. My very own Magritte!

If I knew how to put lettering right onto the image, I would do so — But as it is, I must content myself with captioning it:


Because the joke, of course, is that the wall is white. What trick of the afternoon light  washed it with color? I have no idea. But take my word for it: This Wall is White.

This entry was posted in Art, Challenge, Color, Etcetera, Paintings, Photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to This is Not a Pipe —

  1. Smallpeace says:

    Then I must ask the obvious question: how can this wall be white if this wall is not a wall? 😉


  2. I love magritte for exactly the same reasons. That picture also makes me think about language – the fact that the object has nothing in it that makes it a “pipe” other than that we chose to give it that label. It could just as well have been called a “dog” and as an object been no different.



  3. Richard Hauser says:

    I think it’s only a white wall sometimes. At other times, in photographs, at a certain hour on a sunny day in October, it’s a rusty orangy wall. Aren’t you lucky? You may never have to paint your home again.


  4. Pauline says:

    Ha! I was on Michele’s wavelength because I fully expected the caption to read, “This is not a wall.” It took me a moment to switch gears and figure out that though the wall looked orange, it was a trick of the light and the eye. That wall may indeed be white but the picture of it just goes to show that you can’t believe everything you see 😉


    • Touch2Touch says:

      So that’s two of you who were ahead of me —
      I was just so tickled because the white wall was orange (or the orange wall was white?)
      Anyway — the eyes can lie, like any other sense!


  5. Pseu says:

    What Pauline said!

    BTW yours is an extreme example of mine…


  6. Stef says:

    Regardless of what it is (or isn’t), I think it’s lovely. And wonderful that it caused you to laugh! 🙂


  7. halfcnote says:

    Love it. Love that there are creative discussions alive about art and philosophy. Just wonderful.


  8. Hilarious! The eye is also drawn to the cord and how the little plastic part at the end is perched on the edge of the windowsill. As if it’s thinking about jumping into the void, or … perhaps not!


    • Touch2Touch says:

      And to think I would have cropped it out if I’d been able to figure out how!
      Your imaginations are more adventurous than mine. And I love your metaphor —
      We’ll never know, will we? whether it took the plunge or not 😉

      Thanks to you both for the visit and the comment.


  9. Bruce says:

    Fantastic post! Enjoyed the literal absurdity.


I love comments! Thanks for coming by and visiting ---

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s