Archives for posts with tag: surrealist


It’s been a while since we checked in with Cecilia Gimenez, the 80-something artist from Spain who decided to dust off her paintbox and try to fix up Ecce Homo,” a flaking fresco of Christ’s face on the wall of her church.

At first, Cecilia was in trouble for botching the restoration — which was so off the mark that it even inspired a zombie-looking Halloween costume. The church threatened to sue for the cost of a professional restoration, but the situation gained so much international notoriety that soon tourists, gawkers, and art aficionados were flocking to Borja, Spain — boosting community revenues and adding to the coffers of the church, which charged a fee to view the fresco.

The next plot twist occurred when Cecilia Gimenez demanded a cut of the proceeds. I believe she also intends to trademark her artwork — which is appearing on T-shirts, coffee mugs, postcards, and other lucrative sites.


The Cecilia Prize was established to honor the artist who has inspired so many others to pick up their paint brushes, colored markers, Bic pens, and worn-down pencils — and begin to create art. The contest has received over 5,000 submissions from people offering their own wild and varied forms of “Ecce Homo” restoration. Whether you are a believer, nonbeliever, atheist, or agnostic, The Cecilia Prize is a philosophical exercise in contemplating the endless faces of the ineffable, the mysterious, and the creative spirit.

In this blog, we’ve featured entries that serve as homage to famous paintings or are rendered in the style of renowned artists (Warhol and Picasso, for example). Today’s entry by Mark Ferguson is based on René Magritte‘s celebrated painting “The Treachery of Images” (1929). The French phrase in the painting (“Ceci n’est pas une pipe”) means “This is not a pipe.” The joke is that it’s not a pipe — just a picture of one. (Sort of like “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.”)

I have a feeling that the Belgian Surrealist would have enjoyed the whole Cecilia Gimenez passion play. According to my go-to source (okay, it’s Wikipedia), René Magritte‘s work “challenges observers’ preconditioned perceptions of reality.” And, after all, isn’t Cecilia Gimenez doing the same thing?


Lola Alvarez Bravo: El Sueño del ahogado, c.1945

Poem by Gerald Locklin

Ambiguities haunt our languages
Of dream, desire, figuration.
Are there little quince princesses
Posing upon the river, fallen branches,
Rocks, and diving-board pilings—
The inhabitants of the slumbered Head
Of the decapitated, recapitulated Orpheus,
Or is he the handsome cynosure
Of their collective virginal lust?
Do we meet our Incubi and Succubi
In the colorless weather of the night?
Are we allowed to remember
Our silver seductions
In monochromatic flashbacks,
Or do they only remain as muscle memory?
My wet dreams are getting drier,
But awake I can shoot down every aircraft.
How damp are a woman’s humid dreams? 

Illustration: El Sueño del ahogado, c.1945, photograph by Lola Alvarez Bravo. According to, “Lola Alvarez Bravo is widely recognized as Mexico’s first woman photographer and a pioneer of modern photography…[her work spans] six decades…images include street photographs, images documenting indigenous people and traditional culture in Mexico, portraits, and Surrealist-inspired photomontages.”


Note: Gerald Locklin wrote the above poem after visiting the “Women and Surrealism” exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in the spring of 2012. The poem and several others inspired by visual art at the exhibition appear in Issue #5 of  The Más Tequila Review, available at The 130-page issue, edited by poet Richard Vargas, includes 66 poems from 37 poets. This is an amazing collection in a beautiful large format edition that includes Richard Vargas‘s homage to one of L.A.’s finest entitled “salvation…for Ray Bradbury.” Highly recommended — and a bargain at just $7.00! 

The Más Tequila Review is now accepting submissions for its Winter 2013 issue. Details here.