Peter J. Ketchum


THIS IS A PIPE AND HERE IS THE PROOF is a 6 by 8 inch mixed media work (ink, paper, acrylic, vintage wooden pipe) mounted on a wood block. Note, there is a fake signature on the front where it would have appeared on Magritte's original. But look closely and this signature reads, "Mais Oui" not Magritte. On the back of my work, I signed and dated in ink and indicated it was made in Brooklyn..
My piece steals from Belgium artist Rene Magritte’s 1929 surrealist work which had a pipe similar to the one in my work. Under his pipe Magritte wrote, “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” because, in reality, it was not a pipe. It was a painting of a pipe.
Magritte’s work undermines philosophical assumptions about reality. It’s a long story. See French philosopher Michel Foucault who had a great deal to say on the subject of reality, and reality in images.
“The famous pipe!” Magritte wrote. “How people reproached me for it! And yet, could you stuff my pipe? No, it’s just a representation is it not. So if I had my picture say ‘This is a pipe’ I’d be lying!”
In my case, I am not lying. It IS a pipe. Here’s the proof. “C’est un pipe et en voici la preuve.” An honest-to-god, real, wood pipe which supports the inarguable, irreproachable proof that it is, indeed, a pipe. You could stuff it!
How do we know the truth in a world of lies and political spin? What IS reality? Look. Look again. Think. Think again. Find proof if you can, particularly in these awful, divisive times.

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