Sculpture «To be in Limbo» in the Jesuit church in Vienna. Christophe Stainbrenner, sculptor, photographer and graphic designer and architects Rainer Dempf and Martin Huber dedicated this artwork to a series of “soaring stone” paintings of Belgian surrealist Rene Magritte.
One of the “inspirational” Rene Magritte’s airborne stones — The Castle of the Pyrenees. This painting has become one of Magritte’s best known and most-reproduced images. Poetry and mystery came together in a disturbing juxtaposition to soar above the ocean of mundane.
In the year he died, Magritte painted The Art of Living. It is composed of familiar features from his oeuvre: full-face portraits of “ready-made” citizens, decapitated and ranged in front of a stone balustrade against a background of mountains.
Inside the balloon is a very small complex of eyes-nose-mouth which seems mysterious yet is not, for it is the expression of normalized vacuity, like the ready-made suit. It’s human being, all right. Human being with big secret: small sins that convention not only allows but prescribes, and major sins society proscribes and disallow.
In Magritte’s works mysteries lurk in unexpected juxtaposition of everyday things. They induce disorientation — everything is visible but nothing is revealed: the wrist of a hand that is a woman’s face, the door swings open onto an unexpected vista, a stone bird suspended over a rocky shoreline.
Magritte’s iconic bowler hats, apple-faces and apples-in-hats inspired innumerable works of imaginative “re-imagining”:
It is an indisputable fact that Cameron’s Avatar borrowed heavily and unapologetically (sadly, giving no credit or a hint of acknowledgement) from Roger Dean’s artwork. My selection, perhaps, isn’t the best side-by-side illustration of heavy borrowing, but for those who’d seen the movie and familiar with Roger Dean’s paintings would agree that stunning Avatar scenery is, indeed, Dean-inspired.