“Those who wonder discover that this in itself is a wonder.” (M.C. Escher)
I know, I know, Milan is not Turin. Still, it is only one hour and a half away, either by car or by train. And it’s worth it.
One of Milan’s finest, also close to the Dome and to the Scala Theatre, Palazzo Reale houses these days an event dedicated to M.C. Escher and to his impossible realities, featuring more than 200 pieces of his woodart, lithographs, and mezzotints.
To speak of the artist and his work would take a lifetime, but I would attempt at least to take into account some of the central ideas inherent to the entirety of his art. Escher did not like to directly comment upon his work (one of the few exceptions could be his brief 1989 volume “Escher on Escher: Exploring the Infinite”), allowing thus the viewer to interpret it as seeing fit, but he was adamant in trying to envision for us the patterns and shapes conditioning our existence and defining our perception of reality.
Throughout his life, the artist was obsessed with the exploration of repetitive forms, mirrored images/worlds, trying to understand and to envision man’s place in the Universe and the complex web of interrelated concepts and ideas that could sum up our daily lives, the miraculous embedding our most mundane desires and activities.
One of my favorite pieces of his art could be his “Bond of Union”. Isn’t it wonderful, the way Escher speaks about what it means to connect and to love and about the way people shape & complete each other in cosmic unions? The two spirals creating the two heads quite remind me of Prospero’s musings: “[…] We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.” (Shakespeare, The Tempest)
Besides his preference for shapes and patterns, the artist is also well known for his penchant for paradoxes. With his “Drawing hands”, Escher succeeds in giving, in my opinion, one of the roundest(!) and most astute definition of the creative act itself, as a never-ending story, solving, once and for all, the egg & chicken mystery, the artist & his work dilemma – in his vision, they come to life simultaneously and cannot exist one without the other.
More info on the event and the venue here.