'My work is a-game, a rather really serious game' - is just how Escher described their work. Here, Patrick Elliott, Chief Curator on Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and curator of your upcoming exhibition dedicated to Escher, considers the job of the enigmatic singer.
M.C. Escher has the curious distinction to be at the same time celebrated and unknown. World-famous in terms of the photographs of upside-down stairways which appear on posters, record album covers and Sci-fi publications (although individuals might not know just who did all of them); as yet not known with regards to his life therefore the strength and depth of his broader work. It’s not too popular just what nationality he was or what the M.C. are a symbol of (answer: Dutch and Maurits Cornelis). Students of geometry and crystallography are more inclined to encounter him than pupils of art history. He had beenn’t element of a skill action, had nothing to do with the avant-garde and lived a quiet, evidently uneventful life. He was a one-man art motion who stood outside of the main currents of contemporary art and you won’t get a hold of any reference to him as a whole publications on twentieth-century art. He simply doesn’t easily fit into. But maybe that’s why he’s interesting. He’s somewhat like Kafka: a total one-off with a great imagination (additionally they shared a love of dark, labyrinthine worlds) plus the technique to match, a category unto himself.
You can find parallels with Surrealism. The links between Escher and René Magritte are unmistakeable – they were born a couple of months apart in 1898 in neighbouring Belgium and Holland. They both depicted impossible worlds with dead-pan realism, and additionally they both became acutely famous into the sixties. Oddly, however, they had almost nothing regarding one another. Escher had no connection with the Surrealists, and the other way around: he never ever met all of them, never displayed with them, rather than commented to them. Whereas Magritte self-consciously adopted the design and mores of the bourgeois man as some sort of pose, Escher was that bourgeois guy. Formal, regulated and organised in your mind and fashion, he resented popularity because it got into the way of their work.