Monday, July 28, 2014

René Magritte

Huge was an understatement.

The show was an enormous, massive, gargantuan, infinite twisty-turny maze of the unique surrealism of René Magritte.  It was vast and open and luxurious and so sensually overwhelming that I felt it in all points of my body as I worked my way through. With this kind of art I wanted to get close to it, to experience it, stand in front of the canvas the way the artist did and imagine it as they see it. The blank slate slowly coming to life with the image in their mind, their thought, their dream, their desire, their imaging.

The powerful image of the ocean, and clouds, clearly influential; the unnamed man in an coat that is just like all other coats, that does not identify, that does not stand out. The round black hat making a silhouette of him, a profile that is distinct where nothing else is distinct, and then the journey this man takes as the world around him is revealed to be nothing but children’s games and grotesquely obvious sexuality that pretends to be hidden, but which we, as adults, recognize as surface.

The show was sex and violence, death and penetration, life and more life, fascination, exploration, science, beyond reality, and reality. It was advertised as “Unthink what you know about…” which was a beautiful way to put it.

To understand it, you almost had to unthink what you saw and see the opposite of what you think. It was a powerfully overwhelming experience, so much so that even with two hours we barely managed to make it halfway before they announced that the museum was going to be closing.

“Dammit; I’m not done.”

“You can come back?”

“Oh, I will come back. Thursday. I have to, I must.”

And I did, and it was just as overwhelming the second time. I’m not done, I shall have to go again and again and again. Every day my train passes under the Art Institute, and it's like I can feel the collection in there, a siren’s song, calling to me.

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