Last year, Brazil dominated international headlines for a series of troubling episodes: the beginning of the year witnessed the emergence of the Zika virus, precipitating panic at the prospect of a global pandemic; the spring brought increasing political turmoil that eventually led to the August 2016 impeachment of the country’s first female president, Dilma Rousseff, amid a corruption scandal—in what many have described as a right-wing coup—leading to the non-democratic installation of the corrupt Michel Temer.
Given how little images can actually do, it is often surprising how much we expect of them. We pin our hopes on them to reveal and transform, to mitigate injustice and make the world a better place.
Today the Belgian artist René Magritte is most popularly known as a Surrealist painter, but he was never fully embraced by the doctrinaire followers of André Breton’s more dominant Surrealism, nor did he accept Surrealist methodology—its emphasis on psychoanalysis and automatism in particular—as dogma.
What do we do when we journal, or keep a diary? To follow the example of Rosemary Mayer’s newly excerpted and edited journals, which document a pivotal year in Mayer’s life and career, one might recount one’s thoughts on the relation of beauty to the art object or what it takes to be an artist, along with impressions of concerts attended, friends visited, lovers lost or found, and meals eaten.