Life Line

In spring 2019, Amos Rex will be showing the works of the Belgian painter René Magritte (1898-1967) for the first time in Finland. Magritte, who is considered a leading figure in Surrealism, is particularly known for his works that turn everyday reality upside down; an apple fills a whole room and a nose becomes a pipe. The familiar is suddenly bafflingly strange.

The goal of Magritte’s various surrealistic periods was to solve the enigma of being human – Magritte sought an answer to the universal question of humanity through his art. He probed everyday reality in an attempt to grasp the mysteries hidden within.

The exhibition puts the artist himself centre stage: it is constructed around Magritte’s Life Line lecture, given in Antwerp in 1938. This was one of the rare occasions when the inscrutable artist revealed his working methods and artistic motivations. Magritte had otherwise always refused to explain his works, which gave glimpses of what “the mystery of the world” might look like in pictorial form.

The works on display give a multi-faceted view of the development of Magritte’s working process in different periods. The phases of Magritte’s life and his ideas lend wings to this journey through the artist’s chequered career, right from the early days of Surrealism to his “Vache period”. Besides the visual arts, the supplementary programme for this exhibition by the cinephile artist also extends to Bio Rex’s silver screen in the guise of the silent film serial Fantômas by Louis Feuillade.

The exhibition is realised in collaboration with the MASI, Museo d’arte della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano, Switzerland. The curators are two Belgian Surrealism experts: Director of the Musée de la Photographie à Charleroi, Xavier Canonne; and art historian Julie Waseige.

Magrit­te's Sur­re­al­ism

Surrealism is a movement in modern art, literature and film that was at its most influential between the world wars, but its heritage can still be seen in the visual arts today, too. It sprang up as a protest against realism and Cubism – Surrealism literally means “being above the real”. The movement was led by the French poet André Breton, and the ranks of famous surrealists include Salvador Dali and Joan Miró. The Surrealists emphasized art that comes about without the conscious control of reason, aesthetics or morality, and were interested in dreams and psychoanalytic theory.

René Magritte and his Belgian Surrealist circle, nevertheless, diverged from the mainstream in their use of reality as a tool for calling that very reality into question. Magritte was not so interested in the subconscious, but used his art to investigate reality as an untrustworthy, ideological structure. Chopping it up and borrowing elements from it, nevertheless, allowed him to address fundamental questions about human existence – in Magritte’s words “the mystery of the world”.


During the current René Magritte exhibition Amos Rex will be hosting the complete series of Fantômas silent movies by Louis Feuillade every Monday until 11 March.  All films with French texts and English subtitles.

Screenings are free and open to everyone.

Fantômas I: In the Shadow of the Guillotine (À l’ombre de la guillotine, 1913), 58 min
11 February 2019, 5 p.m.

Fantômas II: Juve vs. Fantômas (Juve contre Fantômas, 1913), 64 min
18 February 2019, 5 p.m.

Fantômas III: The Fatal Dead (Le Mort Qui Tue, 1913), 95 min
25 February 2019, 5 p.m.

Fantômas IV: Fantômas vs. Fantômas (Fantômas contre Fantômas, 1914), 61 min

4 March 2019, 5 p.m.

Fantômas V: The False Magistrate (Le Faux Magistrat, 1914), 75 min
11 March 2019, 5 p.m.

Korjaamo Kino: Twisted Visions

Film series exploring what Surrealism would look like in films of recent decades

The initial impetus for the Twisted Visions season came from Amos Rex’s Magritte exhibition. It fills the screen with curious events and filmic metamorphoses.

Surrealism in general and Magritte’s works in particular rely on the power of startling, compelling images. In the films in the Twisted Visions season images are transformed into new ones and characters and situations become something else. Interleaved between present, history and future, real and unreal, are multiple levels that sometimes seek to mislead the viewer. The series has been curated by storyteller and screenwriter Tytti Rantanen.

For tickets and further details of the films see the Korjaamo Kino website.

Amos Rex: Amiina & Fantômas

6 April 2019 7pm

In honor of René Magritte, the Spring of Amos Rex museum and Bio Rex cinema will look and sound surreal! Amos Rex and Korjaamo Kino are proud to present a live accompanied silent film screening Amiina: Juve vs. Fantômas on Saturday 6 April 2019.

Icelandic string quartet Amiina perform a haunting soundtrack live to a screening of the silent film classic Juve vs. Fantômas (1913). The ethereal music of Amiina echoes perfectly the surreal and mysterious film, in which the detective Juve chases the untouchable criminal Fantômas all around Paris. The cine-concert premiered in 2013 at Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the silent film series, at the invitation of the reknown soundtrack composer Yann Tiersen.

For tickets and further details of the films see the Korjaamo Kino website.