René François Ghislain Magritte (November 21st, 1898 –August 15th, 1967) was a Belgian surrealist artist. His work frequently displays a juxtaposition of ordinary objects in an unusual context, giving new meanings to familiar things. In Magritte’s paintings, the rose (fig 01) is realistically painted, but suddenly the object is denied when we understand the clue: it is too big for this room, it reminds us the almost complete occupation of the interior space, the room is there, but is hidden; the rose is highly sensitive for the viewer, in its color, texture, and smell. It becomes so important that the room loses significance except to emphasize the rose’s huge scale. These Magritte’s domestic objects (fig 02) are out of context too, what immerses us in uncertainty; they invade the space we suppose interior, but we are not sure, as exterior view is superimposed to the interior; the walls are the sky, or even better a representation of it, given the corners and the ceiling are materialized showing a certain kind of techtonics. A similar situation is shown on Robert Mottar’s picture, New York 1959 (fig 03). The construction provides the frame and people provide the materiality. This conjunction allows us to consider “a building” in itself. In a strict sense, the building has no materiality. People is the building’s soul. Without people, this building would be nothing else that the configuration of a structure.
It seems to me that in the examples shown, we have an invitation to “look at”, but not to look at any specific thing, we have to ignore all particulars to appreciate the total gestalt. An element could dominate the scene, but it is impossible to reduce the artistic and architectural concepts to that specific picture. This is a kind of “apperception” of space.