A serious tradition of humour

May 10, 6 p.m.
Before Magritte. A serious tradition of humour in Belgian art
A lecture by Andrzej Pieńkos

One of the most persistent stereotypes concerning European nations is the one which makes us associate the Flemish culture with carnival, masquerade and grotesque. In the Flemish tradition, the theme of “topsy-turvy world” is equally present in the Middle Ages as well as in the 20th century. Starting with a reflection on the specificity of Magritte’s version of Surrealism, the lecture will investigate romantic black humour, irony as well as mocking and irreverent look at the world in the 19th century Belgian art – from Antoine Wiertz to James Ensor. An important point of reference will be provided by the figure of Leon Frederic whose works were featured in the previous exhibition of Belgian Symbolism which was entitled Power of Imagination. Brussels and Symbolism and remained on display at the ICC Gallery from June 6 to July 23, 2000.
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