‘The Mystery of the Ordinary’ was the exhibition that ventured into the oeuvre of this fascinating artist.
This is not an article about Rene Magritte’s exhibition at the MoMA /
Rene Magritte (1898-1967) was an incomparable master in the field of surrealist painting. His impeccable desire to deform that which we consider familiar transformed his paintings into enigmatic visions of the occult. The inclusion of everyday objects in a surrealist context became his primary contribution; his was an essentially different gaze to that of his contemporaries.
In the period between 1926 and 1938, he experimented with different conceptual and technical styles that derived in semiotic proposals and intricate compositions —and in fortunate incursions into collage and photography. The risky experimental spirit that characterised this Belgian painter was encompassed in the Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary 1926–1938 exhibition that took place in the MoMA and which closed its doors in January.
This featured an intensive exploration of Magritte’s career; it presented eighty works that included paintings, photographs and collages. Many of his greatest pieces were gathered after many years of working with different institutions that felt the need to expose Magritte’s decisive influence on art. The name of the exhibitions emphasised the artist’s desire to make the ordinary extraordinary; the Belgian wanted to make “everyday objects shriek out loud”.
When we face the work of Magritte we feel like we’re in the middle of a lucid dream, a parallel reality that can at times seem violent, disturbing or scandalous. The artist intended to make the society of his time tremble by presenting audiences mysterious encounters with the unreal: where we would expect a reflection we see repetition, when we think of an object he categorically corrects us.
The secrets behind the work of this painter are far from being revealed. But, you never know, maybe in a dreamy landscape a man in a bowler hat will lead us through the clouds and into the presence of this artist who will solve our doubts.
Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary 1926–1938 will be exhibited from February to June in The Menil Collection (Houston) and The Art Institute of Chicago from June to October; for further information follow this link.Tagged: Magritte, painters, twentieth century art, MoMA, Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary 1926–1938