Monday, August 18, 2014

Surrealism (pt. 14)

This reflective painting from 1933 is titled The Human Condition.
Once again, this is a philosophical trick, like an optical illusion for the brain as well as the eye.  We see a painted canvas perfectly matching up with the image seen out of an open window.  The canvas replaces the reality.  (Of course, what is behind that canvas could be totally different, and only matched up to the edges—for instance, there might be no tree in the real landscape out the window; but we can't know, since the painting covers it).  The thick curtains drawn back on either side of the window make allusion to theatricality and may imply that everything out the window is merely a show, which the canvas then copies (producing a fiction within a fiction).  But this is all canvas; the whole thing is a painting, created by artist RenĂ© Magritte.  So…what reality is this painting covering up or mimicking?  Does art, as the saying goes, imitate life?  But this is a painting.  So it's not real; it's every bit as much of a lie as the canvas within itself.  Is the concept, therefore, pretend as well?  Ouf!  It's psychological quicksand to enter into these paintings, is it not?  Fun to discuss, and I enjoy it; but at times, utterly incomprehensible.  …I guess that's "the human condition," right?  (Haha)

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