Press Release

René Magritte: The Pleasure Principle

Tate Liverpool presents the most comprehensive exhibition ever staged in the UK of the Belgian Surrealist René Magritte

Friday 24 June – Sunday 16 October 2011

This summer, Tate Liverpool presents the most comprehensive exhibition ever staged in the UK of the Belgian Surrealist René Magritte (1898-1967).  René Magritte: The Pleasure Principle brings together over 100 paintings, some never before seen in the UK, as well as a rich selection of his little-known photographs, home movies and commercial art.  The exhibition will reveal new dimensions to this popular artist, whose life and work is now more relevant than ever.

René Magritte: The Pleasure Principle examines the artist’s oeuvre from a thematic perspective, displaying works in different media and from throughout his career.  The exhibition explores in-depth compositional and conceptual devices which are present in his work from the mid-1920s to his death in 1967.  Magritte employed techniques such as veiling and revelation (through curtains and stage sets), the uncanny double (the encounter with mannequins ambiguously located between life and death), paradoxical realities (the simultaneous state of night and day) and the metamorphic transformation of objects (through scale or petrification) to create an enigmatic and continually mesmerising world.

Drawn from public and private collections across the world, visitors have the opportunity to view a diverse and rich selection of Magritte’s work.  Presented are classic Surrealist images painted in Magritte’s characteristically graphic style, such as word-image paintings and his anonymous men in bowler hats with which the artist has become synonymous.  The exhibition features iconic paintings including The Threatened Assassin 1927, The Human Condition 1933, The Treachery of Images 1935, Time Transfixed 1938, The Dominion of Light 1950, Golconda 1953, and The Listening Room 1958, which have become part of the popular imagination.  A large number of works have never been exhibited in the UK before.

In addition the exhibition includes paintings from his lesser known ‘Vache’ period, erotic works and examples of his commercial designs.  Rare photographs and home movie footage illuminate the life and work of the artist further, providing insights into his relationship with his wife and muse Georgette and his collaborations within the Belgian Surrealist group.  What emerges is a versatile artist and complex figure with an often anarchic sense of humour whose art transcends the image of the unexciting bourgeois which he liked to project.

René Magritte: The Pleasure Principle is curated by Christoph Grunenberg, Director, and Darren Pih, Exhibitions & Displays Curator, Tate Liverpool. 

The exhibition is organised by Tate Liverpool in collaboration with the Albertina, Vienna where it will be presented from 9 November 2011 to 26 February 2012.

Tate Liverpool’s Surreal summer also brings Robert Therrien: Smoke Signals to the gallery (24 June – 16 October), part of ARTIST ROOMS on Tour with the Art Fund.  The uncanny sculptures and drawings of contemporary American artist Therrien (b. 1947) display a clear Magritte influence.

Editor notes

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

Between 2007 and 2013 the Northwest of England will receive a total of £521million (dependent on exchange rate) from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Managed by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), this funding will enhance the competitiveness of the region’s economy by supporting growth in employment and enterprise.

Key targets for the Northwest Operational Programme (NWOP) include:

Creating 26,700 net additional jobs by 2015Generating £1.17bn additional annual GVA by 2015Supporting a 25% reduction in addition CO2 emissions generated by the ERDF Programme.

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