Escher X nendo | Between Two Worlds
National Gallery of Victoria
M. C. Escher, one of the many prolific artists that form the art pantheon of the Netherlands, might not ring a bell, but trust me, in some shape or form you would have encountered one of his intricate handmade emissions, i.e. relief techniques, lithographies and the employment of drypoint methods.
The National Gallery of Victoria’s homage to Escher juxtaposes his work with the expertise of the individuals that comprise the design collective nendo, which after the hugely successful Andy Warhol / Ai Weiwei extravaganza is yet another well-curated coup and jewel in the well-adorned crown on the head of one of Australia’s most eclectic and prominent art institutions.
We follow Escher’s travels through Southern Europe, and are allowed to see depictions of the sights, landscapes and regions through his lens, which are featured prominently throughout Escher’s early oeuvre.
While Escher has mastered elevating often mundane depictions by adding his idiosyncratic twist, the attention to detail and virtuosity he displays when he zooms in on both flora and fauna phenomena is never not mind-blowing and an example par excellence for art imitating life and vice versa – the latter aspect is predominant in Escher’s borderline obsession with everything remotely linked to patterns.
Whole sections are dedicated to Escher’s faible for shapes and endless repetitions thereof, interlinking them and creating another dimension during the process, which he uses to tackle and overcome what usually meets the eye and in a bid to portray and capture the elusive beast that is infinity.
Escher channels his alchemy working with the illusions created through the interactions with light, seamless transitions back and forth between the second and the third dimensions, the exploration of hidden dimensions, distortions and the ambiguities of spatial perception, which tickle and boggle the mind and – most importantly- are a whole lot of fun to experience.
By using unconvential angles and viewpoints, Escher managed to create something reminiscent of reality yet at the same time questions and defies logic.
The last segment of the Escher exhibition pays homage to him dabbling in mathematics, which resulted in him creating constructs that cannot not be found in reality.
In that regard, nendo with his immersive minimalism sets the ideal counterpoint that also forms a symbiosis with Escher’s exhibits and makes the total something much bigger than the mere sum of the individual constituents would suggest.
nendo let himself clearly inspire by Escher’s art and his installations enable the visitor to experience Escher’s work in a more tangible manner - be it through a split-level gallery that lets the recipients immerse themselves in Escher’s world through light installations and physical presentations that are ever changing depending on your vantage point.
The accompanying catalogue is one comprehensive tour de force documenting Escher’s career with the help of close to two-hundred artworks set in scene by nendo’s altering of our grasp on reality and geometry.