The Amazing World of MC Escher

Art
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The master of illusion gets his first major UK show

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 looking for something 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.

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