“I could fill an entire second life with working on my prints,” Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher once said. During his lifetime, he made 448 lithographs, woodcuts and wood engravings and over 2000 drawings and sketches. Besides his work as a graphic artist, M.C. Escher also illustrated books, designed tapestries, postage stamps and murals.
A retrospective of his artworks can now be seen at the exhibition “Journey to Infinity: Escher’s World of Wonder”, currently showing at the ArtScience Museum in Singapore, marking the exhibition’s premiere in Southeast Asia. Escher’s works that walk the fine line between art, mathematics, science and poetry, are renowned for their paradoxical designs, intricate details and meticulous precision. Escher had a natural intuition for mathematical drawings, and was captivated by repeating patterns of interlocking tessellations, and the paradoxical representations of infinity. “[The exhibition] celebrates the confluence of art and science through the work of one of the great icons of 20th century art. Escher’s work brilliantly illustrates the poetry of mathematics, and the scientific processes at play within architecture and design,” said Honor Harger, Executive Director of ArtScience Museum. “As such, there is no better place to stage a major exhibition of his work, than right here at ArtScience Museum, an institution dedicated to the interconnection of art, science and culture. We are looking forward to inviting the public to step into Escher’s playful and imaginative world, filled with impossible constructions, optical illusions, and surprising visions.”
The fourth and youngest son of a Dutch engineer, M.C. Escher enrolled at the School for Architecture and Decorative Arts in Haarlem. But after showing his drawings and linoleum cuts to his graphic teacher, he was advised to pursue his studies in graphic design rather than architecture as initially planned. After graduation, Escher travelled frequently, mostly to Italy and Spain; these journeys left a lasting impression and influenced him as an artist. “It is a great privilege to bring the original masterpieces of M.C. Escher to Southeast Asia,” Dr. Mark Veldhuysen, President of M.C. Escher Foundation, said. “We hope that through the exhibition, visitors will have a better understanding about the influence of M.C. Escher’s art. More importantly, it is through exhibitions [like this] that we preserve the legacy of M.C. Escher’s works.” The exhibition invites visitors to witness Escher’s journey as an artist – starting from his earlier works of nature and landscape in the 1920s and 1930s, to the figurative and abstract art developed in the late 1930s, until the 1970s when he sought to explore infinity. The last gallery of the exhibition is dedicated to artists, designers, fashion designers, singers and film directors who have been inspired by Escher’s works. “The works of M.C. Escher have inspired and influenced some of the greatest designs of the 20th century,” said Dr. Fedrico Giudiceandrea, the exhibition curator. “I have seen Escher’s works hundreds of times but I am still very intrigued and will always discover something new. The exhibition in Singapore will bring visitors into Escher’s world, and through his tessellations and impossible structures, open a window that allows them to grasp the complexity of the world.”