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The pipe and secrets: Rene Magritte quotes about the imaginary and the real

As a pillar of Surrealism, Rene Magritte challenges the audience offering a new way to realize reality. The worlds, which he created on canvas, intrigue and destroy the usual reality. "' … I had a point of reference which held me elsewhere, namely that magic within art which I had encountered as a child," the artist said. The source of his inspiration was the objects and their presentation. He played with likeness and illusion creating visual poetry with the help of paints.
The pipe and secrets: Rene Magritte quotes about the imaginary and the real
Rene Magritte was born on November 21, 1898 in the small Belgian town of Lessine, which is 60 kilometers from Brussels. To mark the 120th anniversary of the artist’s birthday, Arthive have gathered quotes that lift the veil over his ideas about the real and the mysterious, the perfidy of images and the mind games, about himself and other painters.

About mysteries

• "Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist."

Rene Magritte, Time Transfixed (1938). Chicago Institute of Art

• "My paintings are visible images

Rene Magritte, Time Transfixed (1938). Chicago Institute of Art

• "My paintings are visible images which conceal nothing; they evoke mystery and, indeed, when one sees one of my pictures, one asks oneself this simple question, 'What does that mean?'. It does not mean anything, because mystery means nothing either, it is unknowable."

• "I do not express anything! I simply search for images, and invent and invent. The idea doesn’t matter to me: only the image counts, the inexplicable and mysterious image, since all is mystery in our life."

• "The feeling we experience while we look at a picture is not to be distinguished from the picture or from ourselves. The feeling, picture, and ourselves are united in one mystery."

About the games of mind

• "The mind loves the unknown. It loves images whose meaning is unknown, since the meaning of the mind itself is unknown."

• "Nothing is confused except the mind."

About the treachery of images

• "The famous pipe. How people reproached me for it! And yet, could you stuff my pipe? No, it’s just a representation, is it not? So if I had written on my picture 'This is a pipe', I’d have been lying!"
• "When you look at a picture, you may wonder what is imaginary and what is real. Do we talk about the reality of the phenomena or the phenomenon of reality? What is really inside and what is outside? What do we have here: reality or dream? If a dream is a revelation about life in reality, then life in reality is also a revelation about a dream. "
René Magritte. Human condition
Human condition
1933, 100×81 cm
• "Real things are not just trivial and ordinary objects from our immediate environment. What is really real is a short moment when we have such a feeling. And this is what I am trying to express with my paintings."
  • Rene Magritte. Not to Be Reproduced (1937). Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam
  • Rere Magritte. The Son of Man (1964). Private collection

About things

• "Visible things always hide other visible things."

• "An object is not so attached to its name that we cannot find another one that would suit it better."
René Magritte. The Blank Signature
The Blank Signature
1965, 81.3×65.1 cm
• "We are surrounded by curtains. We only perceive the world behind a curtain of semblance. At the same time, an object needs to be covered in order to be recognized at all."
René Magritte. The lovers
The lovers
1928, 54×73.4 cm
• "If one looks at a thing with the intention of trying to discover what it means, one ends up no longer seeing the thing itself, but of thinking of the question that is raised."

• "Too often we tend to reduce what is strange to what is familiar. I intend to restore the familiar to the strange."

About artists

• "To be a surrealist means barring from your mind all remembrance of what you have seen, and being always on the lookout for what has never been."

• "The humour of Pop Art is rather ‘orthodox', it is within the reach of any successful window-dresser; to paint large American flags with one star more or less does not require any particular freedom of mind and does not present any technical difficulty."

About himself

• "Life obliges me to do something, so I paint."

• "I can stay at home as the world offers me ideas."

• "I still chase rainbows, despite 50 years of personal life. I live in the same apartment as twenty years ago. I’m a faithful tenant."
  • Rene Magritte. God is not a Saint (1936). The Magritte Museum, Brussels
  • Rene Magritte, Red Model (1935). Museum of Modern Art, Stocholm

About the world around us

• "We must not fear daylight just because it almost always illuminates a miserable world."
• "The present reeks of mediocrity and the atom bomb."

• "People who seek symbolic meaning miss the essence of poetry and the mysteries of images."
René Magritte. La corde sensible
La corde sensible
1960, 114×146 cm
• "I think we are responsible for the universe, but that doesn’t mean we decide anything."

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Title illustration: Rene Magritte, The Philosopher`s Lamp (1936), private collection.