101108: Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt: René Magritte – La Période Vache

Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt: René Magritte – La Période Vache Ballyhoo for Pariprotz The current exhibit at the Frankfurt Schirn shifts aspects of the Magritte’s oeuvre into the centre of attention, which until now was neglected. But don’t expect a kind of surrealistic Paulus Potter cow-show on account of the title “La Période Vache”: Magritte’s cow-density is virtually zero. In this case the meaning of “vache” has more to do with “ignoble” and characterizes the crude and salacious nature of the 30 oil paintings and gouaches. They are inspired by caricatures and comics, but also by renowned artist colleagues such as Henri Matisse and James Ensor, as well as the painter’s own works. The artist created “Période vache” series within a short period of time and in a new and aggressive style, mainly to get even with the art industry in Paris, which – in Magritte’s eyes – paid tribute to him much too late. In the catalogue foreword Magritte’s friend and author Louis Scutenaire writes: “Mag takes me aside and lets me know: “I’ve done it. We are travelling to Pariprotz (the pretentious Paris) and will show them something nice… I will put my shoulder to the wheel and you will take care of the ballyhoo.” Magritte deliberately conceived the exhibition as a provocation, and both the press and the public were outraged. But since he didn’t sell even one of these provocative works, he returned to his former style of painting. Suddenly Magritte’s works come across as a possible inspiration for Polke’s checkered backgrounds. Unbelievable! Today, in a time where everything is possible, his works will most probably not be seen as provocative. But one could become endeared to this style of Magritte only if it is just for his depiction of the pee break “L’Étape”. Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Römerberg, until 04.01.09 www.schirn.de

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60311 Frankfurt am Main, Römerberg
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