Day 38 – A Mi Manera

One guy who ‘did it his way’, apart from Frank Sinatra of course, was M.C. Escher. I had to do some study on him for college so I thought I’d share what i learnt! He was a Dutchman, a litographer, a genius and, as one of the books I read quoted, ‘an artist who could not be pigeonholed’. In fact during his life he wasn’t renowned as an artist at all!

I guess from an art critics point of view they couldn’t understand him, so they ignored him. Mathematicians, physicists and the ordinary public loved him however as they could look at his work without a preconceived notion of how it should fit into the label of art.

He himself didn’t want his art to be analysed, he said his themes dealt with ‘things that could not be understood, or cannot be described with words’. A woman once rang him and said ‘Mr. Escher I am absolutely crazy about your work. In your striking print Reptiles you have given such a striking illustration of reincarnation’. He replied ‘Madam, if thats the way you see it, so be it’. I get the feeling she was missing the point!

His work had to do with mathematics and the ways it can be used to trick the mind of the viewer. His subject matter was Polyhedra, Infinity, Knots, Perspective, Mirrors, Impossible Architecture and Tessellations and his themes included infinity, the mystery of space, the mystery of dimension, balance of opposites and development between form and contrast. In fact so much of his work revolved around contrast. He once said “Life is possible only if the senses can perceive contrasts”. He uses the example of an organ continually playing only one note or the boringness of a cloudless sky. The things we know, we only know in relation to their contrast.

He has become more renowned in recent years in the art community but for me his work is fascinating. Not only in terms of the visual but the thought-provoking manner in which it gets your mind going. Art doesn’t always have to be understood or have the capacity to be verbally analysed, but, for me, Escher deserves to be recognised.

Some of his artwork below:

Have a close look at where the people at the top of the tower are walking to.

Quote of the day: “Some people see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say ‘why not?'” – John F. Kennedy

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