From the end of the 1920s, Magritte became interested in the theme of transformation. He wrote in a letter to Nougé: "I think that I have made a remarkable discovery in painting. Until now I had always used composite objects, or rather, the position of an object was sometimes sufficient to make it mysterious. But, thanks to the experiences that I have had here, I have found a new potential in things - their capacity to gradually become something else, an object that blends into another object, that itself... I am therefore creating images in which the eye must "think" in a completely different way than it's used to..." (in David Sylvester, Magritte, New-York, 1992, p.128).
This process of transformation is comparable to the natural adaptations that occur in nature and the animal kingdom. Imitation as a means of protection that is a deterrent and camouflage technique of plants and animals, resonates with Les Grâces naturelles. Magritte uses this motif of the bird-plant in a full series of paintings that he named Treasure Island. Islands have very specific biological environments. Flora and fauna on islands present unusual characteristics due to their unique and enclosed ecosystems. With these composite creatures, Magritte was inspired by nature to disturb our visual habits and make the mysteries of the world visible. Magritte created an Eden, inhabited by a luxurious vegetation and abundant species of gentle animals that fuse together. Paul Nougé said of these legendary and fantastical animals: "It is not so difficult to comprehend that the Bird-leaves, the Scheherazade or the sentimental characters of Colloque belong to the famous family of mermaids, centaurs, sphynx and unicorns; and that they have inherited their lost value" (Paul Nougé, 1947).
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