The Magritte Machine, Exhibition, Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid: 14 September 2021-30 January 2022

The Belgian surrealist painter, René Magritte, is known for his provocative and witty images that attempted to change the preconditioned perception of reality and encourage people to think about their surroundings. Often, he presented ordinary objects but in an unusual context.

 

In 1950, he wrote a thought experiment in which he created a “universal machine for making paintings”. This tried to automate artistic thought and creation and included a machine to make paintings, the “Magritte Machine”. In this exhibition the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museo connects Magritte’s work with this machine and  uncovers the way it works. The exhibition is the first retrospective on René Magritte held in Madrid since the one at the Fundación Juan March in 1989.

The Magritte Machine exhibition was put together by Guillermo Solana, the museum’s artistic director, and includes 70 works: paintings, works on paper, photographs and films. The exhibition is divided into six chapters which correspond with the devices that make up the “Magritte Machine”. They include: the museum, as a place that catalogues and exhibits; the silhouette, something that cuts and fills; the window, which frames and covers; the mechanism, which changes size and weight; the mimicry, which allows camouflage within the environment; and the mask, that removes and protects the face.

By Kyle Magnuson from Los Angeles, United States - Site of the Retiro and the Prado in Madrid 49, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=71060536
By Kyle Magnuson from Los Angeles, United States - Site of the Retiro and the Prado in Madrid 49, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=71060536
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