Magritte, Surrealism in the hat

"We never see but one side of things. It's precisely this other side that I'm trying to express." This sentence holds the whole world of the Belgian painter René Magritte, one of the leading exponents of Surrealism, who put at the centre of his "imaginary" works objects of daily use, and arranged them in unusual, unpredictable combinations beyond all logic, thus giving them new functions and meanings.

Among these objects there were apples, the famous pipes and many, very many bowler hats, often worn by men who have their backs turned or are faceless, dressed in a dark coat: it is they, symbols of the bourgeois fashion and conventions of the time, who in Magritte's art acquire a new interpretation and lightness, the men and their hats become objects of children's imagination, they are shapes to combine in a fantastic way and to associate according to the imagination.

They are all that is not reality, they represent freedom from rules and formulas and above all they are the soul of Surrealism, understood as "pure psychic automatism (...) and expression of the real functioning of thought, in the absence of all control exercised by reason and outside of all aesthetic and moral preoccupation." (Manifesto of Surrealism, 1924)

(Some of the most famous René Magritte's works are represented in the pictures: Golconda, Good Faith, Man in a Bowler Hat, The Son of Man, The Great Century)


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