Magritte, Broodthaers & Contemporary art

Exhibitions Art > Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

Magritte's work constitutes a crucial reference for any artist who intends to reflect on the very production of an image, on the representation or transposition of something real as a likeness. This exhibition will bring together artists who, since the 1980s, have productively entered into dialogue with Magritte’s ‘vache’ period. From George Condo to Gavin Turk, from Sean Landers to David Altmejd.

Since his death in 1967, Magritte has never ceased to be alive and is still alive. The exhibition in the RMFAB will show this by focusing on the dialogue that Marcel Broodthaers started with Magritte’s work in 1964. The influence of the ‘word-paintings’ (1927-1929) was decisive both in Belgium and the United States, and contributed to the emergence of Conceptualism. Broodthaers' huge debt to Magritte was based on a common interest in Mallarmé.

Broodthaers befriended Magritte at the end of the war. It developed at a time when Magritte intended to redefine Surrealism by placing it in full sunlight and from a driving desire that would mark his Renoir period. This period ended ‘naturally’ with the series of works described as ‘vache’, and exhibited in 1948 in Paris. This trashing of painting by painting itself in an exuberant gesture marked and still marks much of contemporary creation. Far from the search for critical knowledge that was at the heart of the Magritte-Broodthaers relation, the aim here is to re-establish the importance of the subject, if only in an ironic way.