MoMA to Present MAGRITTE: THE MYSTERY OF THE ORDINARY, 1926–1938, Begin. 9/28
Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926-1938, on view at The Museum of Modern Art from September 28, 2013, to January 12, 2014, explores the evolution of René Magritte's work from 1926 to 1938, an intensely innovative period in which he developed key strategies and techniques to defamiliarize the familiar-to make, in his words, "everyday objects shriek out loud." During this time the artist was closely aligned with the Surrealist movement, and his uncanny depictions of ordinary objects constituted an important new direction in Surrealist art. Bringing together around 80 paintings, collages, and objects, along with a selection of photographs, periodicals, and early commercial work, the exhibition offers fresh insight into the beginnings of Magritte's extraordinary career as a modern painter and Surrealist artist. In addition to works from MoMA's collection, the exhibition includes many loans from public and private collections in the U.S. and abroad. Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926-1938 at MoMA is organized by Anne Umland, The Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Curator of Painting and Sculpture, with Danielle Johnson, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Painting and Sculpture. The exhibition is organized by MoMA, The Menil Collection, and The Art Institute of Chicago, and travels to The Menil Collection from February 14 to June 1, 2014, and to The Art Institute of Chicago from June 22 to October 12, 2014.
The first-ever concentrated presentation of Magritte's early Surrealist works, Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926-1938 begins with paintings and collages Magritte created in Brussels in 1926 and 1927, in anticipation of and immediately following his first one-person exhibition at the Galerie Le Centaure, which launched his career as Belgium's leading Surrealist painter. It follows Magritte to Paris, where he lived from 1927 to 1930 in order to be closer to center of the Surrealist movement, and concludes in 1938, the year Magritte delivered "La Ligne de vie" ("Lifeline"), an important autobiographical lecture that provided an account of his career as a Surrealist.
Like all of the artists and poets associated with the Surrealist movement, Magritte sought to overthrow what he saw as the oppressive rationalism of bourgeois society. His art during these essential years is at times violent, frequently disturbing, and often filled with discontinuities. He consistently interrogated conventions of language and visual representation, using methods that included the misnaming of objects, doubling and repetition, mirroring and concealment, and the depiction of visions seen in half-waking states. All are devices that cast doubt on the nature of appearances-within Magritte's paintings and within reality itself.