The pipe and secrets: Rene Magritte quotes about the imaginary and the real
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 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!"
- 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."
• "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."
• "People who seek symbolic meaning miss the essence of poetry and the mysteries of images."
Title illustration: Rene Magritte, The Philosopher`s Lamp (1936), private collection.