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25 May 2017

René Magritte: The Treachery of Images

Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt

Reviewed by Vera Wilde

If you use images to show that images are illusory, is it visual perception or our interpretation of it that is treacherous? Magritte’s oeuvre suggests the latter. But more than arguing one answer to this central question, this impressive collection of his paintings invites viewers to think through art. If you use images to think, he shows, your own absurdities become more self-evident than when you use words.

Seeing many of his best-known works in one place enables systematic reflection. His trademark blue sky with clouds conveys peace even while his layered perspective shifts conveys disjuncture (The Beautiful World). His reflective silhouette questions how much internal subjectivity relies on the external world (The Happy Donor).

Some lesser-known masterpieces fill out the show with fresh joys and puzzles. The Harvest centers on a reclining nude with rainbow-hued parts - a yellow leg, a purple torso. Our eyes reap what the artist has sown, far more than a glance can carry.

Exhibition René Magritte: The Treachery of Images link
Start date 10 Feb 2017
End date 05 Jun 2017
Presenter Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt link
Venue Römerberg 6, Frankfurt, DEU map
Image René Magritte, Les Mémoires d’un saint, 1960, oil on canvas, 80 x 99.7 cm, the Menil Collection, Houston, © VG BildKunst, Bonn 2017, courtesy of the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt

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