Art in Context VIII

By Guest Blogger Rachel Swartz

Rene Magritte’s 1955 The Mysteries of the Horizon and Kathryn’s piece of TRAVELERS FROM WHERE IN PLACE both utilize the power of the headpiece. As the royals wore crowns and religious groups their particular habiliments of the head, people wear hats to define who they are. Magritte’s bowler hats, a common motif in his work, are visually interesting, their slight absurdity multiplied each time one appears. They also indicate a sameness, or lack of individuality, amongst the figures, or alternately that it is the same person. The two men of Kathryn’s piece share this sameness, with their black ribboned, perforated white fedoras, light blue shirts, and black backpack straps. We know they are tourists, but do we know why they are there? More importantly, why they wear the same hat? It’s a small hint of Surrealism captured alongside the sites of PLACE.