When we look at the picture shown above, what do we see? It looks like coke, the logo says so and the accompanying text does as well. Well, according to Foucault’s analysis of Magritte’s painting, this is NOT a Coke. How we came to this conclusion? It’s really not that hard to comprehend.
This is not a pipe. So says Rene Magritte’s iconic painting, The Treachery of Images. However, the meaning seems somewhat clear at first. The fact is, that this isn’t a real pipe, it’s an illustration or rather a representation of a pipe. This was an important movement in surrealistic art when Magritte pointed out the plain simple truth. Foucault believes that within modernity, people are misleadingly placed within an established system of seeing that associates reality with visual representation. He says that Magritte’s painting of a pipe, combined with the accompanying text “This is not a pipe,” calls into question visual representation itself, as what is painted on the canvas is not actually a pipe but a ‘depiction’ of a pipe.
Accordingly, the image shown above is not a Coke. It is a mere representation of a Coke. The accompanying text and the image are not a Coke but a representation or depiction of a Coke. Like Magritte said that one cannot stuff the pipe (in the painting) because it’s just a representation- not an actual pipe. He also said he’d be lying if he wrote that this IS a pipe. Same is the case here. We’d be lying if we say this really is Coke, when it’s just a sheer representation or rather an image of a Coke.