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Wednesday, January 09, 2019

In Which I See Lots of Escher’s Work And Get Ideas...

Yesterday I went with my friend Jasna to see the exhibition of work by Dutch artist M.C Escher, Escher x nendo: Between Two Worlds at the National Gallery of Victoria. All I can say about it is - wow!

 You will have seen his work at one time or another, even if you don’t think you have, because people use it - a lot. There is that picture of a hand coming out of a sheet of paper and drawing another hand. I’ve seen that on the cover of a graphics textbook. There is the picture of the staircase which twists through an extra dimension and is upside down. I have seen that one in the film Labyrinth with David Bowie, and read it in Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather. And there is that one where a praying mantis is perched on the breast of a marble bishop in his tomb, with a dark crypt behind. I saw that in one of the art books we used at school.

Fair use. I don’t own the rights.
Basically, he was an artist of the fantastical. He did it all in prints and - this is great - simply LOVED experimenting with different kinds of printmaking. According to the blurbs at the gallery, he is about the only artist to master all three kinds.

 There were pics from his early years, when his work was naturalistic right up till his last work, with tangled snakes. He spent a lot of his early years in Italy, drawing the landscapes and seascapes, but even those have fantastical touches to them. They are like seascapes or villages on another planet or an alternative world. Magical!

The layout was amazing too. A bit dark, to preserve the works, but the snakes print was shown in a snake-y area. Even the benches were a part of the show. There were all the birds turning into fishes and vice verse and characters rushing out of pictures and becoming three dimensional and rushing back into the pictures... and at the end of those, there was this.



You could walk through it after seeing it from above, and there seemed to be steps, but weren’t. We assumed this was the end of the exhibition but no...



There was something very Alice In Wonderland about the perspective corridor, which shrank until anyone there looked as if they were about three metres tall!

I rarely buy a catalogue these days, but I decided to do it this time, because I was already coming up with ideas for stories just looking at the art. So, I’m going to do a bit more than drool over the book this time! Watch out for some new stories! 

8 comments:

Brian Joseph said...

I would have loved to have seen this exhibition. I recently read both Douglas Hofstadter‘s Gödel, Escher, Bach as well as his I am a Strange Loop where the author writes extensively about Eschler and his work.

In and of itself Escher’s work is fascinating.

Sue Bursztynski said...

Wow, you have been doing some fascinating reading! Yes, it was well worth the pric3 of a ticket to see this show. And I wouldn’t mind heading an interview with whoever set up and designed it, it would need a lot of knowledge of the background and artistic ability on the part of the organiser.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sue - that sounds a fascinating exhibition ... one I'd love to see. I'm fascinated by Brian's comment about Hofstadter's book ... I must remember to check it out again.

Perhaps you can find out from the organiser more about their approach to the exhibition? It'd be interesting to learn more ...

Cheers Hilary

Sue Bursztynski said...

Hi Hilary! Afraid I have no idea who organised it. Possibly they were interviewed on line, must check it out.

Greg said...

I love it when art inspires stories!

Sue Bursztynski said...

So do I, Greg! It's not for nothing that so many teachers use it for story prompts.

S J Higbee said...

I'm GREEN with envy - what a fabulous-looking exhibition! Like many others, I'm a huge fan of Escher's work and when I used to teach Primary school children, I sometimes took Escher prints into school to make them think. At one stage, I had the big one with the trick staircase up on the classroom wall.

Sue Bursztynski said...

Hi S.J! Yes, it was an amazing exhibition, and those pictures are very stimulating for ideas, I hope you get a chance to see some Escher some time!