(No. 11) Ceci n’est pas un Magritte
or the Great Wave of Verviers, Belgium

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I was lucky to have another opportunity to be a guest artist @ “Creative expression to promote Human Rights” Workshop, Verviers, Belgium. I was invited by Yves Reuchamps aka Willow to do the 11th Great Wave on the wall of the entrance of Centre de jeunes “Les Récollets”. I met Yves last year in autumn in Banja Luka, but we really clicked in workshop in Torino di Sangro this year. He had this Monty Python T-shirt “Knights who say Ni” and basicly I found out that he was complete nutter, especially when it comes to the Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Some will wonder why I write this at all; well it will be explained later. BTW the Monty Python’s Flying Circus is absolutely not an Italian thing, Lupin the III – Yes, Monty Python – NO.

My only connection to Belgium is that I am a fan of Antwerpen´s bend dEUS. Since I saw them perform in MTV’s Most Wanted show in ´94 I’ve gone bonkers. I have original CDs, some singles, DVD and I just found out that some of them have been stolen or, should I say, borrowed indefinitely. Now you have to understand that having originals in Bosnia means great devotion. We usually download everything from the Internet 🙂 for the net is vast and infinite. So I was thinking the Great Wave of dEUS for Belgium but I sensed that planets weren’t aligned in that direction.

…and Now Something Completely Different

There is this ridiculous Monty Python´s sketch called “A man puts tape-recorder up his nose”  where Michael Palin is playing La Marseillaise (the French national anthem) by pressing his nose, mono. There is also a sequel to the sketch “A man with the brother with tape-recorder up his nose” featuring Graham Chapman and Michael Palin and La Marseillaise played NOW in STEREO.

So I had this idea of Michael Palin blowing the Great Wave off Kanagawa from his nose, and guess what, I entered surrealism. And one of the most famous surrealists was from Belgium. I am talking René Magritte. But the thing is, I didn’t think of Rene because of Belgium, it was an Italian connection that led me to him. For he is a recruiting character in Dylan Dog´s comic. And one of the best episodes of Dylan Dog is Golconda!, fully dedicated to René Magritte.

As you can see the cover of that episode featured Rene with tentacles coming from under his hat. And again we have connection to Hokusai, the man who painted most famous tentacle porn ever, The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife or Ama and Octopus. So I just did a few adjustments to composition of the Great Wave, instead of Fuji, I place segment of “La Grande Guerre – the Great War”, a man with the floating green apple, defying gravity, both recurring symbols in Rene´s paintings. Instead of the Japanese fishermen in the boats, I placed a floating man from Golconda. I also placed a few of them in the sky among the drops from the wave. To emphasise even more the connection to Magritte, I wanted to write “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” above tentacle man´s head. For this is not a pipe, the nose is not a pipe, the wall is not a pipe, Centre de jeunes is not a pipe. But since I applied the drawing on the wall, the people were immediately commenting “Ah, René Magritte!” , almost not seeing the Great Wave or me. So I decided to skip “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” sign, and name the painting “Ceci n’est pas un Magritte”, because it is not. And as my newly made friend from Centre de jeunes “Les Récollets”, Steph Leswing aka Yeah… Yeah said:

This is not a love song, this is not america, this is not a blowjob, ceci n’est pas une marguerite, this is not Margaret, das is nicht ein berliner, but …

does the painting now make perfect sense?


Related post: Creative expression to promote Human Rights in Verviers, Belgium

Technique: acrylic studio paint on brick wall

Size: 290|260 x 550 cm
(114.17|102.36 x 216.535 inch)

Year: October 2015

Availability: Public/Street Art

100 Great Waves
Feb 21, 2013

In 2009 we were lucky to have Mr. Adachi from Adachi Institute of Woodcut Prints with Mr. Kyoso as a Japanese traditional woodblock print demonstrator to demonstrate and introduce this technique at the Academy of Fine Arts, Sarajevo. After demonstration I had an opportunity to show Mr. Adachi the photos of my works from 100 Views of Ukiyo-e. When he saw The Great Wave off Kanagawa, he asked me, How many copies did you do? I said, I did only one, as I was aiming to give one original painting to multicopy print. He said, No, You should do 100 copies. At first, the idea of doing 100 paintings of the Great Wave sounded impossible and ridiculous, but in time I realized, I don’t have to do it on canvas, I can do it on walls, it´s nothing new and it´s not the first time someone did it, and yet it becomes a public good unlike painting on canvas that is always private. So I´ve decided whenever I have a chance, to do the Great Wave on walls on each city that invites me to do it.

2018 – Update for the concept 100 Great Waves

As of 2018 I am no longer considering this project to be street art or public only, as this limits my experimental aspect of this series. Therefore my future works will include commissioned art works and indoor murals with private, semi-private and public access.