Unexpectedly, I also got to see Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938 at the Art Institute over the weekend. The exhibit begins with René Magritte's time in Brussels, weaving you through a maze configuration of galleries as you're introduced to his playful surrealist dreamscapes (and sometimes nightmarish) of figures, forms and design-heavy canvases. His handling of oil paint is at once seamless, which iterates his exceptional acumen for working in trompe l'oeil, while maintaining his stylized hand through minimalist shapes.
Working alongside surrealist contemporaries such as Joan Miro and Salvador Dali, his metaphorical works force viewers to question the reality of multiple planes and how we process what we're seeing within a work.
Included during this era is perhaps his most recognizable work The Treachery of Images with its infamous moniker Ceci n'est pas une pipe (This is not a pipe), calling to attention the representation of objects and how the image of the pipe is not truly a pipe but simply a rendering of one.
My favorite part of the show was the center hallway, a long gallery of parallel walls. Viewers could absorb the imagery of singular works such as Clairvoyance, The Portrait and The Philosopher's Lamp. While his imagery is not always explicitly violent, there are a few bloodied images of animals, certainly a nod to the German occupation of Belgium during WWII.
The exhibit of over 100 pieces closes with two familiar works (part of the permanent collection at the Art Institute) including Time Transfixed and On the Threshold of Liberty.
The show is only open for one more week (through October 13th) but if you're in Chicago, I recommend seeing this exhibit. Tickets are available here.