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René Magritte: The Revealing Image to Offer New Insights into Life and Work of Famed Belgian Surrealist Artist

12 Dec 2017

René Magritte: The Revealing Image to Offer New Insights into Life and Work of Famed Belgian Surrealist Artist

An exhibition presented by Swire Properties’ ArtisTree and Ludion
showcasing materials never exhibited in Asia or Europe before


In partnership with the Magritte Foundation Belgium, Swire Properties’ ArtisTree and  Ludion, a European independent art book publisher, will host René Magritte: The Revealing Image – Photos and Films at ArtisTree in Taikoo Place, immersing visitors in 132 original photographs and eight films by the influential 20th  century surrealist artist. 

Running from 19 January to 19 February, these photos and films – created between 1914 and 1967 – have never been exhibited in Asia and Europe before. Together with a series of educational programmes, the exhibition seeks to shed new light on Magritte’s creative process and thinking. Admission and all activities are free of charge. 

Don Taylor, Director, Office at Swire Properties said, “We are delighted to be working with the Magritte Foundation Belgium to bring the work of renowned Belgian surrealist artist René Magritte to Hong Kong and Asian audiences, through ArtisTree at Taikoo Place. This exhibition not only expands ArtisTree’s repertoire of world-class programmes, it’s part of our efforts to create vibrant and sustainable communities by integrating arts and culture into everyday life.”

Speaking ahead of the event, Chief Curator Xavier Canonne said, “This is a very important exhibition as it offers audiences around the world an intimate look at one of the most popular and influential surrealist artists of the 20th century. I’m delighted that the collection will be hosted at ArtisTree in Hong Kong, before continuing its Asia and world tour.” 

All original photographs and films are on loan from two private European collectors – the Magritte Foundation and the Museum of Photography Charleroi in Belgium. Curated by Xavier Canonne, who is also the Director of Museum of Photography Charleroi, the exhibition will be divided into six sections in non-chronological order. It will offer visitors a glimpse of an informal Magritte, his family and circle of friends, as well as insights into Magritte’s mind through his photographs and home videos that were only discovered in the 1970s, more than ten years after his death. 

René Magritte: The Revealing Image – Photos and Films

At A Glance 

The exhibition begins with A Family Album, which will reveal elements of Magritte’s daily life, followed by A Family Resemblance that will offer audiences a look into the intimate relationship between Magritte and the Brussels surrealist group. In the next section, Resembling a Painter, audiences can explore a series of impromptu photographs featuring Magritte with his paintings, which showcase the artist’s tendency to make fun of his own work.   

The next three sections will reveal Magritte’s work processes and the correlation between his photographs, films and paintings. Photography Enhanced, featuring reproductions of Magritte’s paintings, will showcase how his photographs became his source of inspiration; while The Imitation of Photography: Magritte and the Cinema(tography) – featuring photographs accompanied by extracts from Magritte’s own films – will demonstrate how he was influenced by film, which was once a new and unknown medium. 

In the last section of the exhibition, The False Mirror, the title of a renowned Magritte painting, will invite audiences to explore his creative journey through a series of portraits taken at different stages of his life. 

Exhibition Information

Date:                     19 January – 19 February 2018

Time:                     10 am – 8 pm (Monday to Sunday)

Venue:                  New ArtisTree, 1/F Cambridge House, Taikoo Place, 979 King's Road, Quarry Bay

Price:                    Free admission

Remarks:             The exhibition will open until 4 pm on 15 February 2018 and be closed from 16 – 17 February 2018 

Gallery List

.Georgette, Magritte’s wife, is facing the camera, staring intently into the lens. Magritte is behind her, his right hand on her arm, and only half of his face can be seen. This is a photographic painting that Magritte transferred onto canvas.

.René Magritte ‘playing’ with his own painting The Barbarian, which was destroyed during the bombing of London (The Blitz) during World War II. He imitates the pose of Fantômas, the ‘Master of the Crime’; he discovered the character in silent movies and novels when he was a child. This photo also showcases how Magritte loved to act in front of the lens and the important of cinema to the surrealists.

.A perfect example of how Magritte used photography as inspiration. This photo depicts him seated in front of an easel, painting himself in the same pose on canvas. A mise-en-abyme style self-portrait that goes beyond the notion of document.

.Georgette in the summer of 1936, appearing to float on the sand… This photo is a spontaneous composition: Magritte placed his pipe and her necklace next to her hair before he took the photo. The result is an uncommon and wonderful portrait of his beloved wife, with everyday objects beside her, a reoccurring theme he found in paintings of himself.