Cultural Wednesdays- Week 7

Well, it’s been a while since I last wrote a Cultural Wednesdays post, but I simply cannot let this week’s excursion pass without making a comment. Even the people who find Cultural Wednesdays boring (hello, Mum!) should like it. I hope….

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For the past couple of weeks, I have been seeing countless ads for an M.C. Escher exhibition in Madrid.

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I have always been a big fan of Escher, as I think his work is incredibly clever and interesting. I love the way that he plays with the laws of nature, and the preciseness of his wood cuts and lithographs is absolutely extraordinary, especially given that he didn’t have access to the technology (e.g. computers) that we have today.

Anyway, on Wednesday afternoon, I finally decided to visit the Escher exhibition. And I would DEFINITELY recommend it.

The venue for the exhibit, the Palacio de Gaviria, was absolutely fascinating. It reminded me a lot of the State Theatre in Sydney, with its opulent, old school decoration, and ample use of fake gold. Nothing like a bit of kitsch, I say!

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I didn’t know much about Escher’s life, so it was good to find out more. He was born in The Netherlands, and his early school performance was not particularly remarkable. Apparently, he failed a lot of subjects, and decided to become an engineer, after his father suggested it. However, after a year, he realised that he enjoyed graphic design more, and started experimenting with drawing. And, to use an insufferable cliché, the rest is history.

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But needless to say, the best part of the exhibition was seeing the original prints. I know it sounds cheesy, but there is something so much different about seeing artworks in real life versus seeing them in books. It was weird to think “Wow, there’s that picture I’ve seen hundreds of times sitting RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF ME.”

My favourites were these ones:

The image on the left was the best. Escher was unable to finish it because he didn’t know how the space would contort in the centre. So he put his signature there, and pretended it was deliberate. Many years later, some American mathematicians decided to “solve” the puzzle. It took them six months. With the aid of computers.

But probably the most fun part of the exhibition was being able to pretend to be a part of Escher’s work. Here’s some embarrassing photos of me “getting caught up in the action”, so to speak.

So if anyone is looking for an excuse to visit Madrid (hint, hint!), here’s one 🙂

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