M.C. Escher: Reality and Illusion presents a rare and thrilling privilege of examining first-hand 150 masterworks of Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898-1972), one of the most brilliant artists of the 20th century.
Drawn from the largest private traveling Escher collection in the world, this exhibition includes early figure drawings, lesser-known book illustrations, detailed Italian landscapes, the “tessellations” for which he became famous, and several examples of his signature architectural fantasies in which stairways seem to go both up and down. The most iconic of these works, including a pair of hands drawing and fish morphing into birds, are familiar to most people.
M.C. Escher used his work to challenge perspectives, deftly exploring the relationships between art and science, reality and illusion, chaos and order, and logic and absurdity.
“Are you really sure that a floor can’t also be a ceiling?” asked Escher. “Are you definitely convinced that you will be on a higher plane when you walk up a staircase?” Such musings led to “mind-bending” qualities in his spatial illusions and have lent his imagery an enduring place in pop culture iconography.