Just a short post -- photo to come tomorrow -- from a hostel in Belgium. I landed here this afternoon, courtesy of a four-hour Eurolines bus ride, from Paris. Everything is so close in Europe. Paris-Belgium is about Virginia Beach-D.C. A weekend jaunt.
I dropped my bag off on a bunk bed and headed to see the Rene Magritte Museum, which just opened this year. He is a surrealist painter known for such odd images as a depiction of a pipe with the words "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" (This is not a pipe. Which, in fact, is true. It's a painting of one!). The museum is opened until 20:00 on Wednesdays, so I got in for the last 90 minutes. One of my favorite parts were the cryptic quotations in French on the wall and the nice takeaway booklet with translations.
Here is a sampling of the weird, romantic, unfathomable.
"Poetry is a pipe."
"Nothing is as strong a defense as love, which allows lovers to enter into an enchanted world which is perfect for them, and in which their isolation protects them admirably from the rest of the world."
"We mustn't fear daylight just because it almost always illuminates a miserable world."
The other thing I got out of the visit was his repeated denials that he intended any message by his art. Just images, he insists, as does his wife.
But then I look at something like his depiction of a woman's face with a torso imprinted on it: breasts as eyes, belly button as nose, pubic area as the mouth, and think... OK... that's just an image ... Ok, I'm trying here, Rene.
Then I read the title: "The Rape."
Really? You have no message, nothing you are conveying in this?
Why not call it something entirely random then, like: Owl Fingernail. Or ... Easter Egg Meadow.
Hmm. Maybe I'm not supposed to "get" it.