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Correspondences: Rene Magritte's dialogue with art and tradition
thesisposted on 10.01.2011, 10:18 authored by Patricia M. Allmer
Rene Magritte is firmly established as one of the most popular avant-garde artists of the the nineteenth century. However his commentators repeatedly fail to fully address and account for the philosophical implications and complexities of his oeuvre, instead offering accounts that largely ignore recent developments in art theory, and reading his paintings in relation to purely biographical or psychoanalytical contexts. This thesis attempts to situate Magritte's art in relation to a philosophical discourse which assumes language and representation as the underlying and inescapable structures of humane existence. The thesis will position and try to think about Magritte's images as critical engagements with surrealism and art, history and tradition. This thesis draws on critical frameworks and thinkers informed by and associated with post-structuralism, notably theories of originality and of dialogism as found in works by Julia Kristeva, Roland Barthes, J. Hillis Miller and Harold Bloom. It will explore the intellectual implications presented by Magritte's images, reading them as pictorial interventions into a discourse of intellectual enquiry and as contributions to an ongoing debate which manifests itself in the form of the dialogue with the writings of Andre Breton, as the key intellectual resource of surrealism with other surrealist texts and theories; with the history and development of painting in modernism and with the metaphysical and ontological implications of representation. Underlying this particular aspect of the thesis is the Bakhtinian assumption that no text or work of art exists in isolation, but each art work situates itself in a dialogic relation with other art works, leading to the critical necessity of 'reading' art works in dialogic terms.
- The Arts, English and Drama