Французская живопись

Рене Магритт

    "Rene Magritte was no doubt disappointed that, aside from the small circle of his kindred spirits among the Surrealists, the world needed over a quarter of a century to discover that his work has both philosophical and poetic content which corresponds to certain social and intellectual trends, particularly of the second half of the twentieth century. Magritte's work was not easy to approach at the outset, however. He is a difficult painter, and his simplicity is misleading. A world ever more disturbed and unstable - in labor, trade, and industry, as well as in intellectual and university circles - is a world in which reason remains indispensable. Yet the irrational no longer allows itself to be thrust aside, and today it is struggling to win recognition. As a result, there is now a greater possibility, especially among the younger generation, to arrive at a better and deeper understanding of Magritte's art.
"His work makes a constant call on us to relinquish, at least temporarily, our usual expectations of art. Magritte never responds to our demands and expectations. He offers us something else instead. His friend Paul Nouge has expressed the problem better than anyone else; what he said in 1944 still holds good: "We question pictures," he said, "before listening to them, we question them at random. And we are astonished when the reply we had expected is not forthcoming."
   "Magritte's work allows one to conjure up a state of being which has become rare and precious - which makes it possible to observe in silence. Reading and reflection call for silence, listening no less. Silence can be used for waiting for an illumined vision of things, and it is to this vision that Magritte introduces us....
   "The fascinating and challenging images in Magritte's works stem from revelations of the mystery of the visible world. To him this world was a more than adequate source of lucid revelations, so that he did not need to draw on dreams, hallucinations, occult phenomena, cabalism. Nonetheless, preconsciousness - that is, the state before and during waking up - always played an important role in his work.
"In studying Magritte one begins to understand that attempting to solve puzzles must be avoided but the artist himself provides clues to his manner of painting and the mental process on which it is founded. Some are inclined to call this process "visual thinking. I prefer to give it no name. The term "visual thinking" is not subtle enough and involves too many misunderstandings regarding the possible subordination of the visual to thought, or vice versa. The misunderstanding caused by calling Magritte "cerebral" has also been demonstrated all too often, despite the unusually large quantity of literary, philosophical, and linguistic affinities Magritte's work suggests, and which bring us closer to their meaning. Also the term "literary" is a misconception in his case, although it is understandable because of the literary origins of the leading figures in Surrealism. Let us refrain, then, from favoring one formula or the other and instead take a frank look to see with whom, and with what, Magritte and his marvelous cabinet of instruments can be compared.




 

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