The imaginative world of Maurits Cornelis Escher is a playful and impossible place executed with mathematic precision.
Dulwich Picture Gallery presents the UK’s first major retrospective of original work by the great Dutch graphic artist Maurits Cornelis Escher (1989-1972). The Amazing World of M.C. Escher (until 17th January 2015) leads us through Escher’s mind bending pursuit of eternity. The exhibition includes woodcuts, lithographs, drawings, watercolours and mezzotints, as well as exclusive archive material.
Presenting a lifetime of work, from early experiments with style to his final woodcut Snakes (1969) depicting the quantum intricacy Escher mastered by the end of his life, Dulwich Picture Gallery pays tribute to one of the unsung giants of twentieth-century art. Absent from major art institutions across the country, nonetheless Escher’s prints are instantly recognizable and have achieved their own longevity outside mainstream narratives of art history.
Yet as much as Escher may have been snubbed by the art canon, he was equally dogged in his avoidance of it. He morbidly avoided identifying with art movements and artists, seeking instead inspiration from mathematicians and his brother-in-law, a national crystal expert. On one occasion he also famously rejected Mick Jagger’s invitation to design an album cover. The distance between Escher and the institution speaks for itself in his work.
Escher’s fascinating technique transcends cultural construction and renders his work amenable to dissemination and a global audience. But while this very reproducibility threatens to make Dulwich Picture Gallery’s exhibition of original work somewhat redundant, it pays respect to Escher’s insistence on hand printing each woodcut.
Some draft drawings and scaled pieces will be interesting for Escher fans, and of course, a timeline chronicling his evolution. Otherwise just go to say you’ve been. It’s better than most other things you could be doing.
The Amazing World of M.C. Escher at The Dulwich Picture Gallery
End Date: 17 January 2016