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The Amazing World of MC Escher
Having busted the block with its summer show of Eric Ravilious, Dulwich Picture Gallery looks set to have another hit on its hands with this survey of the Dutch graphic artist Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898–1972). He of the impossible perspectives, gravity defying waterfalls, buildings morphing into bodies and, most famously, stairs rising inexorably to nowhere is the subject of this retrospective comprising nearly 100 prints and drawings stretching across his career. Escher set out to become an architect in 1918 and started to work as a printmaker shortly after. But it’s not surprising that he became truly famous in the 1960s, when his mind-melting images chimed with the pervading mood of the era and his prints were bought in their thousands by students, stoners and anyone groovy and far-out to put on their walls. Escher remains immensely popular, and his influence has been massively influential on popular culture. Possibly because of his general popularity, museums shows of his art are relatively rare, making this full-scale retrospective (which comes to London from the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh) one of the most anticipated shows of autumn. You can expect to see all the greatest hits – including ‘Day and Night’, in which two flocks of birds, one white, one black, emerge magically from the centre of the image to head towards daytime and night, and ‘Drawing Hands’ (1948) where two hands seem simultaneously to draw each other on a single page.
Considered Britain’s greatest living painter, the 83-year old artist has lived and worked in north London for the last sixty years, painting every day of the year but one. In this survey of 70 paintings, which span over half a century, you can experience Auerbach’s obsessive renderings of local scenes around Camden Town as well as portraits of close friends.
Technology plays a huge part in our daily lives. The Internet has radically revolutionised how we live; it’s a resource that has the potential for amazing experiences but is also a black hole for unpleasant activity. Jon Rafman uses the Internet quite a lot as a research tool for his multidisciplinary practice that incorporates films, installation, photographs and sculptures. He’s sourced accidental images from Google Streetview for his ‘9 Eyes’ blog that gives a far more enlightening, profound and true view of streets around the world than a mere map ever could. And most recently used the deep web for a film work about erotica and online self-reinvention. For his first major UK solo show, the Montreal-based artist continues to question the implications of our dependency on technological existence by blurring the line between the virtual and the real in his new film ‘Sticky Drama’ that features child Larpers (Live Action Role Players) acting out a fantasy adventue. You’ll also have the chance to try out the much-anticipated Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset within a fabricated environment where the imaginable becomes tangible.
In 1991, the UK’s hard rock and heavy metal festival, Monsters of Rock, showcased Pantera, Metallica, AC/DC and The Black Crowes in Moscow. Shanghai-based new media artist Zhang Ding got Chinese bands to recreate this important concert in 2014. For his October show in the ICA’s theatre, Zhang continues to challenge musical individuality by inviting different bands to play in unison on fabricated stages. Working with Dalston-based radio station NTS, Zhang has programmed a series of daily performances, creating a platform for creative experimentation.
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