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A solo exhibition of over 200 works by M.C. Escher on view at Brooklyn's Industry City
Installation view, ESCHER. The Exhibition & Experience at Industry City, June 8, 2018 – February 3, 2019. Photo by Adam Reich. Courtesy Arthemisia.

BROOKLYN, NY.- Arthemisia, Italy’s leading art exhibition producer, is making its American debut with ESCHER. The Exhibition & Experience, an exhibition of over 200 works by the iconic Dutch artist M.C. Escher, from June 8, 2018 through February 3, 2019 at Brooklyn’s Industry City. The exhibition is curated by Mark Veldhuysen (curator of the M.C. Escher Foundation Collection for over thirty years) and Federico Giudiceandrea (one of the world’s foremost collectors of, and experts on, the art of M.C. Escher).

ESCHER. The Exhibition & Experience is the most important and the largest exhibition of M.C. Escher ever presented in the United States. The exhibition’s American premiere follows its wide success internationally – in cities including Rome, Bologna, Milan, Singapore, Madrid and Lisbon – where it has been attended by over 1 million visitors.

Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898 – 1972) is world renowned for his enigmatic sketches and paradoxical designs, executed with incredible detail and mathematic precision to create and construct impossible worlds. Escher had a natural intuition for mathematical drawings, and was captivated by repeating patterns of interlocking tessellations, and the paradoxical representations of infinity. Exploring the intersection between art, mathematics, science, and poetry, Escher’s works have fascinated and astounded generations of artists, architects, mathematicians, musicians, and designers alike.

A one-of-a-kind artist who used to say that “wonder is the salt of the earth,” Escher has broadened the imaginations and perspectives of generations of art lovers, through works in which everything is connected: science, nature, analytical rigor and aesthetic beauty.

“Escher was a singular artistic visionary, whose works still beguile and entrance wherever they are seen,” said curators Mark Veldhuysen and Federico Giudiceandrea. “We are thrilled to bring this exhibition to New York, and to expose new audiences, young and old, to an artist whose vast influence can be felt throughout the spectrum of contemporary culture.”

The exhibition highlights Escher’s journey as an artist – from his earlier works of nature and landscape in the 1920s and 1930s, to the figurative and abstract art developed in the late 1930s, through the 1960s when he sought to explore infinity. Some of his works are instantly recognizable, and have lent inspiration to the popular culture of our time. The last gallery of the exhibition is dedicated to artists, designers, fashion designers, singers and film directors who have been inspired by Escher’s work.

Included in the exhibition are some of Escher’s most iconic and recognizable masterpieces, including Hand with Reflecting Sphere, Relativity, Belvedere, Eye, Metamorphosis, Day and Night and Waterfall.

In addition to the Escher works on display, the exhibition includes scientific experiments, play areas and educational resources that will help visitors of all ages to understand the impossible perspectives, disquieting images and seemingly irreconcilable universes which Escher combined to create a unique artistic dimension. Among these special installations are immersive photo booths constructed to emulate Escher’s hypnotic environments. Visitors will be able to photograph themselves “inside” the worlds of M.C. Escher, the Relativity Room, which turns normal size and scale on its head, and the “Infinity Room,” in which visitors can see their reflection repeated, seemingly, into infinity.

ESCHER. The Exhibition & Experience is divided into seven thematic sections:

Early period and Italy
This first section highlights Escher's rapport with Art Nouveau. The link between the future engraver – a student at the time – and this important international current was his teacher, Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita. The influence from Art Nouveau is one of the distinguishing features of Escher's early style and it also sparked his future interest in tessellation, or the regular division of the plane.

Additionally, in this section, Escher’s close relationship with Italy – a country where the artist spent much of his life between 1921 and 1935 – is dealt with in depth.

The crucial turning point in Maurits Cornelis Escher's artistic development was his second visit to the Alhambra and Cordoba in 1936. While the artist had already developed a considerable interest in tessellation through his Art Nouveau training, this second visit to the Alhambra led him to embark on a meticulous study of the patterns used to decorate the extraordinary Moorish palace. He then became passionate about tessellations: geometric decorations in which triangles, stars or squares repeat like tiles to cover a plane without leaving any gaps.

Structure of space
Escher was always fascinated by reflective surfaces. His first self-portrait on curved mirrors dates from 1921. The sphere reflecting rays from all directions shows the whole surrounding area. Hence the eyes of the viewer are always at the center; the viewer comes to perceive the self at the center of the universe. Thus, the Self (as Escher himself writes) is the undisputed protagonist at the center of the world, which revolves around it.

Yet we find more than just spheres in this section: two-dimensional shapes are juxtaposed with solids through the tessellating of space according to an endless range of possible compositions, as in the 1955 work Depth, which seems to reproduce the disposition of atoms in the element iron (Fe). Escher was keenly interested in metals and crystals, and he studied all the laws governing their molecular arrangement in space.

This section takes its title from Metamorphosis, one of Escher's greatest masterpieces. The work depicts a whirl of transformations based on different forms of tessellation and logical and formal resemblances, culminating with a view of Atrani, a village on the Amalfi coast that the artist was very fond, of and where he spent his honeymoon. Escher depicted Atrani in 1931; By comparing the two engravings visitors will realize that the landscapes in Escher's 'conceptual' works after 1936, the year he left Italy, are – with few exceptions – Italian. It is as though, deprived of the landscape that inspired him, Escher found inspiration in inner mental structures that were rooted in his memories of the time spent in Italy.

Geometric paradoxes
This section focuses on two scientific domains that are of crucial importance to Escher's art: mathematics and geometry. Between Escher and the mathematicians of his day ran a thin yet crucial line; the attraction between them, however, was a mutual and fruitful one. The Dutch genius was capable of turning his fantasies into images and this captured scientists' attention, leading to a dialogue with the world of science that continued even beyond the artist's death.

Print Gallery (1956) is a refined version of the “image within the image,” also known as the Droste Effect (a name that derives from the tin of the famous Dutch cocoa). This effect spawned a scientific debate which raged on for forty-seven years, as scientists grappled with a problem that seemed unsolvable on account of its enigmatic complexity – a mystery on which Escher himself attempted to shed light through his work.

The Droste Effect makes this work appear incomplete, because of the difficulty of joining it at the center. Escher placed his signature in the empty space that remained. The mystery of this 'hole' left by Escher and of whether it is possible to fill it was solved by Hendrik Lenstra, a mathematician from Leiden University, in 2003.

Commissioned work
This section illustrates Escher’s 'everyday' activity, with works intended to meet clients' requirements more than the goals of his own personal artistic research. However, this does not make the works in question any less notable. Like all great artists, in creating bookplates and visiting cards for various clients, Escher never betrayed his own art, but rather adopted an original and immediately recognizable approach. Indeed, these projects offered Escher valuable opportunities to experiment with solutions that he would later use for his masterpieces.

Escher's art left the confines of the studio and was transformed into gift boxes, postage stamps and greeting cards; it entered the world of comics and cartoons and ended up on the LP sleeves of famous bands like Pink Floyd; it even found its way into television advertisements and feature films. This section of ESCHER. The Exhibition & Experience explores the vast impact that M.C. Escher’s unmistakable and iconic work has had on entertainment, consumer goods, and popular culture through the present day.

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