The conflict between the visible that we see and the visible that is hidden in Rene Magritte’s fascinating world full of contrasting ideas
The play between illusion and objective reality that always changes until the core is captured
Magritte was always obsessed with the image that we create of both ourselves and the compendium of the world elements. Like many of 20th century painters, explorers and philosophers of life, his focus was on the core of being and trying to remove the illusion by making it obvious in his paintings. There is something poetic about his work and a delicate treatment of the imaginary, in almost child like narrative, speaks to us about the mind bending world he created and inhabited.
The foundation of modern design, was, in my opinion, influenced by his work. Even though he denounced Pop Art there is nonetheless a strong connection with it and while the core behind all the hidden meanings that he explored may not be representative of this particular genre of Art, the outer shell and design aspects are evident. Even modern computerized design holds a lot of association with Magritte’s language.
Painting within a painting and a Human condition which is the name of one of his paintings too
The most important and primordial element and mechanics of art is situated in the world behind the shell of be it painting or music or words. These communicating bits are just the shells with multiple doors that can be opened if the wish is there for opening them. Once the doors are open the whole world, a living creature, an organism is before us and Magritte was no doubt opening these doors and creating new doors for us to enter.
“In front of a window seen from inside a room, I placed a painting representing exactly that portion of the landscape covered by the painting. Thus, the tree in the picture hid the tree behind it, outside the room. For the spectator, it was both inside the room within the painting and outside in the real landscape”
Magritte originally worked as a draughtsman to make his living and leave the mark from this period on this world in his most simplistic forms. Isn’t it sad that through history majority of artists had to make a living by working on something much underneath their full capacity.
René François Ghislain Magritte (1898 – 1967) was a surrealist artist from Belgium. ‘He became well known for a number of witty and thought-provoking’ paintings. His work, often containing mundane objects in unusual spaces, points to the ‘fickleness of images and challenges the observer’s preconditioned perceptions of reality. His imagery has influenced pop, minimalism and conceptual art.’ Source: Wikipedia
His mother died by drowning in a river and when her body was recovered for years it was said that Magritte saw her in that moment (although recent research has discredited that story which emanated from the family maid) while her face was covered by her dress, and this image made a tremendous impact on his life. The thoughts of death and life, and one hiding or running from the other, because illusion and hiding is the first mechanism of running. A continuous flux of life/death events and it is still unknown what is the purpose and the core of each. The question that is never answered, and everyone is asking?
Magritte was fascinated by the mysterious in life, his conceptual inquiry is razor sharp reinventing what is commonly accepted as truth or common knowledge. The flying men, the upside down hat are only a few of the densely packed creations that speak novels to us.
There is a repetitive element in many of his paintings and Freud’s analysis of repetition is a result of a trauma. This model is present in minimalism in music, and it may mean that music has reached the point of trauma itself, because it exhausted itself in it’s own limitations and needs to radically reinvent, which we are observing at present. Magritte may be just one of the artists who are using the repetition to communicate exactly what Freud is proposing, but not as a result of his own personal trauma, rather as a result of his vision that in his case painting has reached the point of trauma.
Magritte’s most famous quotes:
“Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see.
If the dream is a translation of waking life, waking life is also a translation of the dream.
The mind loves the unknown. It loves images whose meaning is unknown, since the meaning of the mind itself is unknown.
Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist.”