• Elvira m. Dayel

'Unique images.' R. Magritte, SF MOMA

Updated: Mar 16


Belgian artist, Renee Magritte, whose work, I thought, I was rather familiar with and, by whose exhibit at SF MOMA, I was blown away. I thought I knew Magritte's work. In this exhibit there were many discoveries and new insight. I loved to see the characteristic quirky insight and immense patience with which he labored to produce a painting while communicating a particular idea. Each of his works has a number of layers of references yet in each one of them there is a very strong dominating idea. It is always difficult to put one's figure on the exact direction of the thought that bothered Magritte at the time and therefore triggered this or that painting! For simplicity and riddle solving of Magritte's ideas, artwork is categorized as the following:

Hypertrophied objects - a medical term of organs that endanger the body:

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1- Erased "nature,"

2- nature represented in the form of another natural object - like a flower - tree, for example

3- tamed "nature"

4- "nature" portrayed captured in the form of a man-made object:

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I couldn't stop laughing when I saw these Fishmaids / Magritte's Mermaids 😂. Anthropomorphic figures. This fish-human condition re-interpreted age-old story and Anderson's little Mermaid is radically flipped. In Magritte's painting it's the fish's head and human legs. There are also two of them and they are in love. There is another similar idea, to my mind falls into the same category, where bird (pigeon) -like / human-like figures are imagined as leaves of a tree. How weird!

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Wonderful image of the pigeon cutting through the darkest of the night, cutting out with its own silhouette beautiful peaceful sky. There is so much symbolism and with it so many interpretations that are possible for this artwork! Therefore this image has been so heavily used in pop - culture. I wish we could once again see the purity of its intention.

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Bowler hats & master of silhouette! Of course these pieces are in their own category.

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"The Dominion of light" is a title for 17 individual paintings that explore the same ideas & identical composition, with very slight differences. From audio tour: “In this immersive space, Magritte's ideas about the power of light & the progression of time unfold slowly around us. Do these pictures capture two fragments of a single day? Or one instant in a world where land & sky are chronologically disjointed.“

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THIS IS NOT A PIPE. Of course it isn't because it is a picture of the pipe... or of course it IS because it is a drawn image of the object of the pipe.

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Charles Desmarais article in SF Chronicle:

www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/Getting-surreal-Magritte

Steven Winn The SF Chronicle’s former arts and culture critic:

www.sfchronicle.com/art/article/It-s-the-mostly-surreal-thing-at-SFMOMA

#Magritte #SFMOMA

20./.20

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