This summer, Belgian Surrealist René Magritte (1898-1967) is one of the most important and revered artists of the 20th century. Tate Liverpool
is to present the most comprehensive exhibition ever staged in the UK of the Belgian Surrealist René Magritte (1898-1967). Opening on 24 June, René Magritte: The Pleasure Principle will bring together over 100 paintings, some never before seen in the UK, as well as a rich selection of his little-known photographs, home movies and commercial art. The exhibition will reveal new dimensions to this popular artist, whose life and work is now more relevant than ever.
René Magritte: The Pleasure Principle examines the artist’s oeuvre from a thematic perspective, displaying works in different media and from throughout his career. The exhibition will explore in-depth compositional and conceptual devices which are present in his work from the mid-1920s to his death in 1967. Magritte employed techniques such as veiling and revelation (through curtains and stage sets), the uncanny double (the encounter with mannequins ambiguously located between life and death), paradoxical realities (the simultaneous state of night and day) and the metamorphic transformation of objects (through scale or petrification) to create an enigmatic and continually mesmerising world.
Drawn from public and private collections across the world, visitors will have the opportunity to view a diverse and rich selection of Magritte’s work. Presented will be classic Surrealist images painted in Magritte’s characteristically graphic style, such as word-image paintings and his anonymous men in bowler hats with which the artist has become synonymous. The exhibition will feature iconic paintings, including The Threatened Assassin 1927, The Human Condition 1933, Time Transfixed 1938, The Dominion of Light 1950, Golconda 1953, and The Listening Room 1958, which have become part of the popular imagination. A large number of works have never been exhibited in the UK before.
In addition the exhibition will include paintings from his lesser known ‘Vache’ period, erotic works and examples of his commercial designs. Rare photographs and home movie footage will illuminate the life and work of the artist further, providing insights into his relationship with his wife and muse Georgette and his collaborations within the Belgian Surrealist group. What emerges is a versatile artist and complex figure with an often anarchic sense of humour whose art transcends the image of the unexciting bourgeois which he liked to project.
René Magritte: The Pleasure Principle is curated by Christoph Grunenberg, Director, and Darren Pih, Exhibitions & Displays Curator, Tate Liverpool.
The exhibition is organised by Tate Liverpool in collaboration with the Albertina, Vienna where it will be presented from November 2011 to 26 February 2012.
Tate Liverpool’s Surreal summer also brings Robert Therrien: Smoke Signals to the gallery (24 June – 16 October), part of ARTIST ROOMS on Tour with the Art Fund. The uncanny sculptures and drawings of contemporary American artist Therrien (b 1947) display a clear Magritte influence.