MAGRITTE AND PHOTOGRAPHY
MAGRITTE AND PHOTOGRAPHY
The exhibition has been organized by the International Cultural Centre and the Wallonia-Brussels Delegation in Warsaw.
The exhibition was part of Kraków Photomonth Festival 2012.
Exhibition's design: Malwina Antoniszczak, Monika Bielak
Curator of the exhibition: Natalia Żak
Drawings: Bogdan Achimescu
About the design
The collection of photographs by Rene Magritte has a very informal character. In fact Magritte himself never showed them to the public. Some of the photographs present Magritte's friends, some are photographic sketches for paintings, and other show Magritte himself. Designing the exhibition we wanted to reveal sketchy and informal nature of this collection. We chose a script font, often present in Magritte’s paintings. We treated the walls of the gallery as if they were pages of the artist’s sketch book. We’ve designed some of the texts in shapes of clouds characteristic for Magritte’s art. We also decided to create a visual dialog with the photographs and play with them. We’ve designed drawings that were complementary to the photographs. Sometimes we wanted to show what might be out of the frame of the photograph, sometime it was just a funny drawing. We invited an artist Bogdan Achimescu to draw the images directly on the gallery walls.
About the exhibition
René Magritte is one of the world’s best-known Surrealist artists. His poetic, atmospheric works in which seemingly common-life objects acquire an unusual and intriguing nature are not only considered 20th-century classics, but also occupy a place in popular culture which has adopted a number of his most recognisable artistic motifs.
In addition to painting, Magritte took photographs though this part of his creative output has, for a long time, been little known.
On display at the exhibition at the International Cultural Centre, there are several dozen photographs taken in the years 1928–1955 – which were never shown to the public before the painter’s death.
In his photographs, the elements of artistic creation are blended with the intimate world of the artist and those who were close to him. Magritte’s photographs show mostly his wife Georgette – his muse and only model, as well as his friends and fellow Belgian Surrealists – poets and writers – Louis Scutenaire, his wife Irène Hamoir, Paul Nougé, Marcel Lecomte, Marcela Marïen, Camille Goemans and Paul Colinet. In the catalogue of Magritte’s first photography exhibition Scutenaire described the works in this way: In his free time René Magritte derived great pleasure from setting up people, whether it be his wife or friends, creating fictitious situations. (…) It was exactly in the same way as when the artist juggled with elements in his paintings, creating a different world”.
Photographs taken during trips and informal meetings combine Dadaist jokes, humour and a burlesque atmosphere with an aura typical of Magritte’s paintings, and feature many of his often-used motifs.
Several dozens photographs collected for this exhibition will be complemented with the painter’s amateur films from the 1950s, an early drawing and the late lithograph Three Apples presenting one of his favourite motifs.