Review: Escher & Nendo

MC Escher’s work has achieved a level of ubiquity that belies its attraction.

Escher NGV

For all of the 60s counter culture associations, his familiar works are precise, geometrical, and reflective: they are not the random results of a (stereotypical) hippie’s disordered mind, but deliberative explorations of mathematically precise spaces that centre the artist and his interests.

Art MC Escher NGV

Fine details.

Yes, this exhibition features his best known works, but it is not limited to his famously tortuous and alluring architectures or mirrored images.

 Escher NGV

Early work

I was entranced with Escher’s early explorations of Italy. Even here however, amongst the winding mountain paths and trees, there is evidence of his preoccupation with line and pattern.

MC Escher self portrait art NGV

Escher rocks the Melbourne inner city Barista-cyclist look.

Then there is Nendo. I wasn’t expecting much, to be honest. For me Escher would have been enough.

Escher art NGV

Escher centres himself.

Yet the spaces and constructions designed by Nendo did add something to the experience. I felt myself reacting to the room of open and roofed shapes.

About halfway through I realised I was avoiding the dark spaces and opting for the brilliantly white spaces.

Nendo art NGV

Nendo: nooks for art & wandering.

The surprise moment for me was entering the circular room. Escher’s architecture is displayed on the walls.

Escher & Nendo NGV

Simple & magical.

But the wall encircles a Nendo cut out display which changes as you move around it, or look through it.

It was unexpected and quite simply, it was stunning. But seeing things in unexpected situations is very much Escher and Nendo gets it.

Nendo art NGV

Escher amid Nendo

Thus this exhibition was more than I expected.

Escher art NGV

You see the planning behind the magic.

The architecture of the exhibit played with perspective and line and pattern, not exactly as Escher did, but certainly in ways that enhance the experience of his art. I think I’ll probably visit again.

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