"We are surrounded by curtains. We only perceive the world behind a curtain of semblance. At the same time, an object needs to be covered in order to be recognized at all." -- Rene Magritte
I had the pleasure of seeing Magritte on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2006. The exhibit was entitled, "The Treachery of Images," and it toyed with many of Magritte's most famous surrealist images. Further intrigued, it was Suzi Gablik's book that I subsequently picked up. As Suzi Gablik explains in her Preface, she met Magritte and his wife in 1959 and that visit resulted in an eight month stay and what would become this monograph (book). Included are excellent essays on Pop and Surrealism, The Human Condition and The Use of Words, not to mention the myriad illustrations. She lifts this curtain in concise and detailed accuracy.
In life, Magritte maintained an inconspicuous presence unlike the vainglorious and flamboyant Salvador Dali whose personality was as famous as his paintings.
The Magritte paintings I find of particular interest are the paintings within paintings: "Evening Falls" and "Le Seducteur" (The Seducer) are two of my personal favorites because of his brilliant blend of inside and outside mental phenomena. He teaches us a new way to see and interpret the mysterious world around us. His influence can even be seen in pop culture, take for instance, Jeff Beck's Beck-Ola (Exp) or the scene with Johnny Depp in Once Upon a Time in Mexicothat harkens back to Magritte's "The Magician" in my opinion.
Freud once said, "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar..." Not so with Magritte. If he said, "This is not a pipe," the journey would begin there. A jumping off point. He was always on the lookout for what has never been. The treachery continues...
We will never forget the Bowler-Hatted man and his work. At least, I know I won't.