For a man who didn’t like to talk about the meaning behind his art (‘The mind loves the unknown,’ he remarked), René Magritte and his motifs, from the green apple to the pipe that isn’t a pipe, are everywhere in Brussels these days. 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the revered surrealist’s death, and the Belgian capital is seizing the opportunity to pay homage to its greatest painter hero with a flurry of special exhibits.
Atomium meets Surrealism
If Belgium’s beguiling Atomium with its nine balls of steel and oft-missed structural reference to an iron crystal isn’t a worthy place of honouring the country’s premier surrealist, we don’t know what is. On the occasion’s of both the anniversary of Magritte’s death and the Atomium’s 60th birthday, the two Belgian icons will join forces for a year-long interactive exhibit.
Two spheres of the landmark have been entirely given over to 3-D representations of the artist’s work. While the true connoisseur won’t find anything new, kids and adults new to Magritte’s oeuvre can expect a smashing introduction to the painter’s signature motifs and themes in the form of interactive displays.
Until September 10, 2018
The many faces of Magritte
For much of his life, Magritte couldn’t be considered well off. In fact, he produced the biggest part of his oeuvre in the kitchen of his Jette home, while his wife Georgette did the dishes or played the piano. Now a home museum that shines a spotlight on Magritte ‘the man’, his personal life, his influences and the lesser-known periods of his artistry, the establishment has set up an open-air travelling exhibit in the parks of neighbourhoods the Bruxellois liked to frequent.
The museum series, called Signs of Life, is not of his works but, somewhat ironically, consists of 21 photographic portraits of the man who mostly refused to paint faces.
Offering yet another perspective on the artist is The Lost Magrittes exhibit, which boasts 27 never before seen works from the master’s hand. Signalling Margritte’s interests outside of Surrealism, these pieces tackle new themes and unexpected styles with signature quality. An Atomium ticket will get you a 2 euro discount to the Magritte home museum and vice versa.
Jette (VUB Campus) in front of building A, from October 10 to October 24, 2017
Schaerbeek (Avenue L. Bertrand), from October 26 to November 19, 2017
Jette (Parc Garcet), from November 11 to December 19, 2017
Home museum: Rue Esseghem 135, 1090 Jette
Until February 18, 2018
Until February 18, 2018
His surviving Brussels haunts
For those who wish to sidestep the museum path, the City of Brussels has also captured the late Magritte’s favourite hangouts in the special pamphlet Be Magritte, Be Brussels (available from the tourism office). We’re talking longtime bohemian bar La Fleur en Papier Doré, Belle Époque chess tavern Le Greenwich and multiple guided walks that reveal the city’s Surrealist tendencies.
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