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M. C. Escher | Journey to Infinity

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.

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

All M. C. Escher, The Second Day of Creation (The Division of the Waters), 1925, woodcut

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

Self-portrait in Reflecting Sphere (Flor de Pascua), 1921, woodcut

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

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.

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

Inside St. Peter’s, 1935, woodcut

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

Nocturnal Rome: Colonnade of St. Peter’s, 1934, woodcut

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

The Bridge (also known as Town in Southern Italy), 1930, lithograph

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

Castrovalva (Abruzzi), 1930, lithograph

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

Pentedattilo, Calabria, 1930, lithograph

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

Tropea, 1931, lithograph

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

Santa Severina, Calabria, 1931, lithograph

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

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.

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

Regular Division of the Plane I, 1957, woodcut

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

Regular Division of the Plane IV, 1957, woodcut

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

Intarsia Door Cabinet, wooden handcraft

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

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.

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

Sky and Water I, 1938, woodcut

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

Day and Night, 1938, woodcut

Love this one – the two halves on the left and right are the exact opposites of each other.

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

Predestination, 1951, lithograph

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

Swans, 1956, wood engraving

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

Liberation, 1955, lithograph

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

Circle Limit IV, 1960, woodcut

I found this angel/devil pattern quite creepy in a cool way, LOL.

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

Rippled Surface, 1950, woodcut and linoleum

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

Puddle, 1952, woodcut

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

Three Worlds, 1955, lithograph

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

Still Life with Mirror, 1934, lithograph

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

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!

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

Three Spheres II, 1946, lithograph

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

Reptiles, 1943, lithograph

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

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!

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

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.

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

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!

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

Other World (also known as Another World), 1947, woodcut

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

Convex and Concave, 1955, lithograph

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

Up and Down (as known as High and Low), 1947, lithograph

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

Relativity, 1953, lithograph

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

Belvedere, 1958, lithograph

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

Ascending and Descending, 1960, lithograph

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

Waterfall, 1961, lithograph

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

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.

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

H.W. Lenstra, Print Gallery Resolved, 2003, digital print

Journey to Infinity: Escher | ArtScience Museum

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.

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