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Monday, November 17, 2014

When René Met Hecate

Companions of Fear, 1942

René Magritte's art has been explained from different viewpoints: Freudian psychoanalysis (that he didn't like at all), the theories of language (that he liked more, and even encouraged), etc. What about the dynamics of fantasy -- with admittedly a bit of Freud? In spite of his atheism and unbelief in symbology, Magritte often pictured magic subjects and landscapes: sexy witches, enchanted forests, supernatural lights, metamorphoses, . . .  The very usage of language in his paintings seems to suggest a foray of words that are powerful precisely because they belong to a different level of reality, while not absolutely chosen at random.

After all, he did met Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft. He met her when he was 14: when his mother was mysteriously found dead in a river, her body naked, her face hidden in her nightshirt. A phantom who would haunt him from then on, enticing and frightening, opening his mind onto a "further" dimension that was not heaven nor hell.