To coincide with a major exhibition of Surrealist artist, Rene Magritte's work at Tate Liverpool, Richard Strange broadcasts from Magritte's former apartment and the recently opened Magritte Museum in Brussels to piece together the exceptional vision and by contrast, determinedly ordinary life of this outwardly conventional man who constructed intriguing and bizarre images, imploring us to "put the real world on trial".
Monty Python's Terry Jones holds forth about Magritte's genius for juxtaposition, eminent writer, Suzi Gablik recalls staying with the Magritte's during the 1960s, Naresh Ramchandani explains why Magritte's paintings underpin advertising and artist Gavin Turk pays homage to the master.
Ever since the 1960s, we've seen Magritte's works, eager to find hidden meanings within them. But the artist fiercely resisted interpretation, imploring us to question our own inquiry and what reality we believe to be true.
His famous painting - "Ceci n'est pas une Pipe", (This Is Not A Pipe), shows the image of a pipe "You can't smoke it, you can't suck it - it's no more a pipe than an apple!" implored the artist.
"My painting is visible images which conceal nothing; they evoke mystery and, indeed, when one sees one of my pictures, one asks oneself this simple question, 'What does that mean?'. It does not mean anything, because mystery means nothing either, it is unknowable."
Magritte used a language of brick walls, sky, apples, rocks, bowler-hats and drawn words, to explore how images work and how strange they are. He played with scale, perspective, shadow and illusion. A rock floats, an apple fills a room, suited men rain down on a city...
He was often mistaken as a bank clerk; his external appearance (in bowler hat) at odds with his anarchist heart.
Producer: Kate Bland.