The impossible world of MC Escher by Steven Poole

Those visions fed what would become Escher’s most celebrated works. In 1948, he made Drawing Hands, the image of two hands, each drawing the other with a pencil. It is a neat depiction of one of Escher’s enduring fascinations: the contrast between the two-dimensional flatness of a sheet of paper and the illusion of three-dimensional volume that can be created with certain marks. In Drawing Hands, space and the flat plane coexist, each born from and returning to the other, the black magic of the artistic illusion made creepily manifest. The following, from a later Escher essay, could easily serve as a gloss on this image:

The artist still has the feeling that moving his pencil over the paper is a kind of magic art. It is not he who determines his shapes; it seems rather that the stupid flat shape at which he painstakingly toils has its own will (or lack of will), that it is this shape which decides or hinders the movement of the drawing hand, as though the artist were a spiritualist medium.

Escher’s lifelong subject, in a way, was the dramatised artificiality of the created image. (The art historian EH Gombrich wrote that Escher’s work “presents so many interesting comments on the puzzles of representation”.) Of his 1945 picture Balcony, with its weird bulging central distortion, Escher commented: “Surely it is a bit absurd to draw a few lines and then claim ‘This is a house.’” The theme of Balcony, he said, was “this odd situation”.


Despre Claudiu Degeratu
Expert in securitate nationala, internationala, NATO, UE, aparare si studii strategice

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