Our Magritte exhibition will be closing this Sunday. I have to say, I'll be sad to say farewell to René - it has been great having his work on display at Tate Liverpool.
Magritte, of course, is renowned for his deadpan painting style - the graphic image of a steam-train unfathomably erupting from the fireplace or the man whose head is a fireball. For me, though, it has been a real revelation to get to know some of his lesser known works. During the late 1920s Magritte created a series of mysterious and unusual painterly works, such as Untitled (Sky with Biomorphs and Words) 1928, which are heavily improvised and laden with weird anarchic energy.
One of the first things that struck me when I began working on this exhibition was that Magritte’s influence seemed to go beyond Surrealism, informing the language of conceptual art. In fact, the range of artists he openly admired was quite narrow and didn’t really change throughout his career. In the 1960s he dismissed the Pop art generation despite them claiming him as a precursor and influence. ‘They are of their own time,’ he sniffed, ‘Me, I feel I am into truth.’ With Magritte, it seems that every act and utterance were part of a systematic attempt to somehow undermine any attempt to gain a fixed and stable understanding of the artist. To me, there is still much to discover about Magritte.
We’re really pleased by the response to the exhibition - it’s always reassuring when visitors and critics respond positively after we’ve invested years of research and energy into a project. A recurring comment and source of pride is when visitors ask whether the exhibition will travel to London (which, of course, is only two hours away by train). At Tate Liverpool we aim to stage international standard exhibitions comparable to those seen in the great museums of London, Paris, New York, or wherever. Thank you to all of you who have visted Magritte and if you’ve not seen the exhibition, I urge you to book tickets now to avoid disappointment. The gallery is fantastically busy right now and we expect our weekend tickets to sell out.