Rene Magritte at Tate Liverpool

This is an exhibition of many of this artists most well known works, showing at the 4th floor in Tate Liverpool from today.

The best way to describe Magritte’s work is that he takes the banal and everyday and formats them in pictures that challenge the way we look at the world. He really is the forerunner of pop art, many of his works looking like album covers.

Many of you will have seen the bowler hatted man with his face covered by a green apple or the painting depicting men apparently raining from the sky. This is the typical image of his work but this exhibition goes beyond the well known Magritte and showcases work covering his whole life and his many themes.

One of the rooms covers work which plays with light, landscapes showing night scenes in apparent daylight. Technically very accomplished. Another room covers his early works with a particularly striking painting of two lovers kissing whilst their faces are covered in what looks like a cloth. The exhibition also touches on the artists work as a commercial illustrator (an occupation he loathed) with many examples of advertising and film posters.

There is also the now obligatory ‘erotic’ section showing sketches of genitalia. This is not the best or most illuminating example of this artists work, reminiscent of schoolboy doodles (well mine anyway!).

The thing that struck me about this artist was the many paintings that are painted through a portal or window. Probably 50% of the paintings on show seem to be from the viewpoint of a man looking from either the outside in or vice versa. Magritte seemed to be outside of reality, disconnected from the world in which he lived and longing for another. He appears trapped in an urban landscape longing for the open skies of the countryside.

An ordinary man in bowler hat and mackintosh with a longing to escape his mundane existance.

This is a fascinating collection and a great insite into the human psyche. Although the images at first appear banal ordinary and everyday, their message when arranged in the paintings offer an insite into the desires of us all. The desire to escape reality and enter the world we dream of.

This is an inspired choice by the curator of Tate Liverpool. It is what the Tate is all about, excellent modern art which makes you think!

Rene Magritte – The Pleasure Principle runs until 16th October 2011

Admission £11, concessions £9

For more details see the Tate Liverpool website or phone 0151 702 7400

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Culture vulture and manic ukulele player
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