René Magritte Gets Centre Pompidou Show
The French capital’s Centre Pompidou will be holding an exhibition of work by Belgian artist René Magritte from September 21, 2016, to January 23, 2017.
The French capital’s Centre Pompidou will be holding an exhibition of work by Belgian artist René Magritte from September 21, 2016, to January 23, 2017. Featuring around 100 pieces, the show offers a fresh look at one of the key figures of modern art, exploring the painter’s interest in philosophy.
This new monographic exhibition on the surrealist painter, entitled “René Magritte. The treachery of images,” uses drawings, paintings and archive documents to explore the artist’s interest in philosophy. His taste for the field culminated in 1973 with the publication of Michel Foucault‘s Ceci n’est pas une pipe (“This is Not a Pipe”), based on the writer’s discussions with the artist. The book’s title – like the exhibition’s – is inspired by Magritte’s famous work “La Trahison des images” (“The Treachery of Images”).
Magritte’s “Les affinités électives” (“Elective Affinities”), painted in 1932 and showing an egg in a cage, plays a pivotal role in the exhibition, marking a turning point in the artist’s work. This was, in fact, Magritte’s first painting intended to solve what he called a “problem,” as he explained at a 1936 conference. It is with this notion of “problems” that the exhibition opens.
The show also explores the recurrent “motifs” in Magritte’s work and their underlying meanings. Curtains, for example, refer to the contest for realism between ancient Greek painters Parrhasius and Zeuxis; words evoke the biblical story of the Adoration of the Golden Calf; flames and enclosed spaces hint at Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, etc.
“René Magritte. The treachery of images” also highlights the differences between Belgian and French surrealism. The Belgian strain owes much to Paul Nougè, a man of scientific background who brought a more rational and materialist approach to the movement.
René François Ghislain Magritte was born November 21, 1898, in Lessines, Belgium. In the early 1920s, he worked as a poster artist, a draughtsman in a wallpaper factory and an advertisement designer. In 1926, he formed a Belgian surrealist group with Mesens, Lecomte, Nougé, Goemans and the composer André Souris. The following year, he held his first personal exhibition at the “Galerie Le Centaure” in Brussels. He later frequented other surrealist artists like Dali and Breton, before breaking with them and returning to the Belgian capital. In 1954, the city hosted the first retrospective of the artist’s work at the Fine Arts museum. He died in 1967.
“René Magritte. La Trahison des images” runs September 21, 2016, to January 23, 2017, at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France.