One of the exhibitions I would highly recommend to see in Singapore right now would be Journey to Infinity: Escher’s World of Wonder at ArtScience Museum. I wasn’t familiar with Escher before, beyond his Drawing Hands (shown above!) that I’ve seen everywhere but never attributed to an artist. This exhibition was bigger than I expected it to be and it’s really comprehensive! I was glad to view so many of Escher’s works and learn more about what he did.
| Cover picture: M. C. Escher, Drawing Hands, 1948, lithograph |
Escher worked with prints throughout his career – the early form of prints before printers came along, with the two most common types of prints being lithograph and woodcuts. I actually took a class on printmaking last year, and while I don’t think I knew what I was doing at the time (haha!), I’m happy to have had taken it now ‘cos these prints are absolutely lovely. The exhibition starts off with Escher’s early works and his inspirations taken from Art Nouveau and nature.
All M. C. Escher, The Second Day of Creation (The Division of the Waters), 1925, woodcut
Self-portrait in Reflecting Sphere (Flor de Pascua), 1921, woodcut
Cloister of Monreale, Sicily, 1933, wood engraving
I love how the rays of sunlight were engraved line by line; the amount of detail is stunning.
Escher spent a lot of time in Italy from 1927 to 1935, traveling every spring from Rome to southern Italy. The prints below were produced from his sketches at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican and from scenes of the landscapes of southern Italy.
Inside St. Peter’s, 1935, woodcut
Nocturnal Rome: Colonnade of St. Peter’s, 1934, woodcut
The Bridge (also known as Town in Southern Italy), 1930, lithograph
Castrovalva (Abruzzi), 1930, lithograph
Pentedattilo, Calabria, 1930, lithograph
Tropea, 1931, lithograph
Santa Severina, Calabria, 1931, lithograph
The next section of the exhibition is Tessellation, which displays Escher’s beginnings in tessellated works that would later develop into his well-known graphic works.
Regular Division of the Plane I, 1957, woodcut
Regular Division of the Plane IV, 1957, woodcut
Intarsia Door Cabinet, wooden handcraft
Smaller and smaller, 1956, wood engraving
Next up is the section Metamorphosis, which I simply thought was very cool! It continues from Escher’s work with tessellations. Shapes now metamorphose into different forms, hence the title.
Sky and Water I, 1938, woodcut
Day and Night, 1938, woodcut
Love this one – the two halves on the left and right are the exact opposites of each other.
Predestination, 1951, lithograph
Swans, 1956, wood engraving
Liberation, 1955, lithograph
Circle Limit IV, 1960, woodcut
I found this angel/devil pattern quite creepy in a cool way, LOL.
Rippled Surface, 1950, woodcut and linoleum
Puddle, 1952, woodcut
Three Worlds, 1955, lithograph
Still Life with Mirror, 1934, lithograph
Hand with Reflecting Sphere, 1935, lithograph
The exhibition guide mentions that Escher was fascinated by reflecting spheres wherein the viewer would always be positioned centre no matter how you held the sphere. A very interesting point which I had never considered!
Three Spheres II, 1946, lithograph
Reptiles, 1943, lithograph
Bond of Union, 1956, lithograph
Metamorphosis II, 1939-40, woodcut
A little video of this really long piece that could barely be captured in a photo – watch it to see the details!
Skipping ahead to the section Exploring the Infinity, there’s an installation of cranes overhead and a related Relativity Room with an infinite number of cranes.
This section is hands down my favourite as it features a considerable amount of Escher’s masterpieces that play tricks on your mind in the best way!
Other World (also known as Another World), 1947, woodcut
Convex and Concave, 1955, lithograph
Up and Down (as known as High and Low), 1947, lithograph
Relativity, 1953, lithograph
Belvedere, 1958, lithograph
Ascending and Descending, 1960, lithograph
Waterfall, 1961, lithograph
Print Gallery, 1956, lithograph
Print Gallery is a really interesting piece as Escher tried to repeat the entire image infinitely in the centre. He was unsuccessful, however, and so left the centre empty and placed his signature there instead. A team of mathematicians then came along fifty years later and resolved the image’s perspectival issue, as seen in Print Gallery Resolved.
I also found the difference between lithograph and digital print really interesting to see (the two prints are exhibited next to each other), one produced by handwork and the other with a computer.
H.W. Lenstra, Print Gallery Resolved, 2003, digital print
As for most things in Singapore, the exhibition price is quite hefty at S$14 for Singaporean adults and S$17 for foreigners. That’s the price if you only view this single exhibition, there are other prices if you decide to check out other exhibitions ongoing at ArtScience Museum as well.
Despite the price, I was very happy to have seen the exhibition. The sheer amount of artworks shown made it worth it for me! The exhibition is showing until 26th February 2o17, you can check out more details at their website here.