But that’s not to say that René Magritte: The Revealing Image – Photos and Films will be difficult to appreciate. Here is Wach’s insight into how an art lover – of any level – can begin to appreciate this exhibition.
On understanding surrealism
Though at first it may appear complex and indecipherable, surrealist art – and its philosophy – focuses on the purest and most uncomplicated of human thoughts. “The surrealists’ aim was simple: art had to create rather than re-create – to add to the world rather than replicate it,” he explains. “Art now had to reveal the ‘inner’, rather than reproduce the ‘outer’.”
On discovering Magritte’s surrealism
“[For Magritte], serious art had to have internal integrity. It had to be about the mental contents of the mind, rather than the visual pleasure to the eye,” says Wach of the artist’s extensive portfolio of work.”
On the rarity of the artwork
Wach recognises that the intimate photographs and films on show at the new Artistree are in a league of their own. “Viewers are unlikely to ever see these works again,” he says. “I was impressed by the homely and intimate charm of the photographs, and the ways that they offered up rare glimpses into the life of one of modernism’s most original thinkers.”
On what makes Magritte, Magritte
To come to terms with the late artist is to understand what makes his work quintessentially Magritte-ian. This, says Wach, is signalled by juxtaposition – “the greater the clash of images, the greater the complexity of thought.” Pieces like René Magritte and the Likeness are demonstrative of such qualities.
On the audience
Wach believes that Magritte’s works are “much more readable and easily digested” than many of those produced by his surrealist counterparts. Speaking about the audience’s reception of the Melbourne run of the show, he says, “The young loved the works’ unpretentious ambience; others gained much from the ‘normalcy’ of the content, and the more creative minds recognised the everyday charm of an artistic life.”
Things to ponder as you’re exploring The Revealing Image at the new ArtisTree:
- - What are the best ways to “read” surrealist art?
- - In what ways are Magritte’s photographs and films accessible to a wider audience?
The new ArtisTree and Ludion, in collaboration with The Magritte Foundation Belgium, presents René Magritte: The Revealing Image – Photos and Films.
19 January – 19 February 2018
See the programme page for more details.
Follow @artistreehk on Instagram for all the #MagritteArtistree action