This Is Not A Pipe Foucault Essay

This Is Not A Pipe Foucault Essay-35
In ''Personnage Marchant Vers l'Horizon,'' Magritte depicts a man in topcoat and hat, his back to the viewer; he is surrounded by blobs, and these blobs are festooned with names - ''chair,'' ''horse,'' ''cloud'' and so on.

In ''Personnage Marchant Vers l'Horizon,'' Magritte depicts a man in topcoat and hat, his back to the viewer; he is surrounded by blobs, and these blobs are festooned with names - ''chair,'' ''horse,'' ''cloud'' and so on.Language doesn't regiment reality but leaves it as slimy as ever.By virtue of its disproportionate size and free-floating dislocation, this utopian pipe is made to seem a mirage, while the depiction of a pipe, comfortably ensconced in its frame, enjoys a higher ontological dignity.

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Another of his pipe dreams contains a depiction of a pipe on a blackboard under which ''This is not a pipe'' is inscribed in a schoolmasterly hand.

Floating above the blackboard Magritte depicts a kind of Platonic pipe.

This is Not a Pipe also throws a new, piquantly dancing light on Foucault himself.

Michel Foucault was born on October 15, 1926, in Poitiers, France, and was educated at the Sorbonne, in Paris.

t's a pipe, a palpable pipe: not a painterly pipe, not an abstract pipe.

Lord knows, it's not an Expressionist pipe; it isn't even a Freudian pipe.His work proposes a critique not simply of depiction but of all ''texts'' that aim at the truth. Foucault takes Magritte to recommend a free play of the imagination. Foucault can recommend this esthetic stance is a mystery to me.Although he may have a taste for the playful as against the authoritarian, what reason can he give to persuade others to accept his preference?Thus there can be no natural science of man or thought.The appropriate stance for the mind in this predicament is to reject all pretensions to truth and to be available to the play of all possibilities, using each to cancel the claims of the others.Descartes, however, radically changed that picture by claiming that the physical world is devoid of significance and that God communicates directly with rational creatures by inscribing various ideas (innate ideas) in the soul.After Descartes the Idealists sought to subtract the absurdly meaningless material world.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.Perhaps the statement also curls in on itself to say, ''This sentence is not a pipe.'' Anyone familiar with Mr. Foucault has been engaged in ''excavating'' the shifting notions of representation in the history of Western culture.Foucault's influential work, especially ''Les Mots et les Choses'' (the English translation was called ''The Order of Things''), will immediately see that Magritte's work has everything to recommend it to a writer of Mr. The very distinction between representation and world (a distinction that supplants the one between self and world for Mr. To the Neoplatonists of the Renaissance, the world was an ensemble of signs pointing to a world of heavenly Ideas beyond the limits of sense.


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