Brussels adds a surreal touch to Magritte show

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ART LOVERS heading for Belgium beware, writes Imre Karacs. There is, by all accounts, a wonderful exhibition of Rene Magritte's life works on in Brussels. So wonderful, in fact, that the authorities in the Capital of Europe have decided to keep foreigners away, lest their glance should besmirch the greatest Belgian artist's canvas.

Posters announce that all tickets for Magritte are "sold out". Until the end of June, that is, when the exhibition closes.

But it does not seem to be packed. There are no queues, only crowds outside, holding up "SOS Magritte" cards in the hope of attracting a friendly tout.

Because tickets are being sold. "You are unlucky," said the lady at the cashier's desk with a smile. "I've just sold the last two for today." That was news to an Italian, who had been waitingsince the previous day. Tickets, he was told, were not for sale.

"You fool," a friend in Bonn greeted me upon my return. "All you have to do is buy the annual museum pass." Maybe. But the surest way to see a Magritte is probably to wait until the show reaches a less surreal city, one that can deal with the foreign hordes.