René Magritte: The Pleasure Principle
24 June – 16 October 2011
Belgian Surrealist René Magritte (1898-1967) is one of the most important and revered artists of the 20th century. A major new exhibition presented by Tate Liverpool in summer 2011 will reveal the inspiration behind the artist’s unique style, highlighting how his practice continues to influence later generations of artists, resonating beyond Surrealism to inform the language of pop and conceptual art.
Described as a ‘creator of images,’ Magritte once stated that there is “very little difference between seeing a work in reproduction and looking at the real thing.” Taking a thematic rather than chronological approach, René Magritte: The Pleasure Principle, will explore this notion and consider the compositional and conceptual strategies used by the artist throughout his long career. Major paintings from across the world will be featured alongside drawings, collages, examples of his commercial work and rarely seen photographs and films.
Magritte was heavily inspired in his painterly work by mass market literature and popular culture. He appropriated commercially available imagery: the iconic work Man with a Newspaper (1928) for example, with its split screen ‘comic book’ format, was based on an illustration from a German health manual. His compositional devices, which will be explored in the exhibition, were derived from advertising, shop window display and his work as a graphic designer in the early 1920s. The careful framing of vistas and monumentalisation of simple objects he employed in his commercial designs were modified and refined in his paintings.
Renowned for his mysterious and deadpan imagery, Magritte depicted banal objects such as pipes, apples and umbrellas in incongruous settings. His works evoke the idea of an unfathomable reality whilst complicating the relationship between image, representation and meaning.
The exhibition is organised by Tate Liverpool in collaboration with the Albertina, Vienna where it will be presented from 8 November 2011 to 26 February 2012 (dates tbc).