Exhibition – Have you ever ventured into an optical forest or explored a village where houses’s pitched roofs gradually open up the further away? Until April 7, Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria welcomes to ESCHER x NENDO | BETWEEN TWO WORLDS, an exhibition celebrating the iconic Dutch graphic artist M. C. Escher with a stunning monochrome display and a new object collection by Japanese studio nendo.
RELATED STORIES: Discover more stunning projects by nendo on Archipanic…
Escher is famous for his optical illusions and impossible realities. 157 prints and drawings from the artist’s largest collection at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag are on show across nine display areas, each one designed specifically to suit the works presented in an effort to reflect Escher’s ideas and thought process.
“Born from the concept of creating a space for Escher, the simple shape of a house served as the base of the new designs created for the project,” explains nendo’s founder Oki Sato to Archipanic. The recurring house motif provides a context for display throughout the exhibition.
At the entrance, animation projected onto the floor welcomes and leads visitors to the first gallery where interlocking houses compose a white bench in front of some of Escher’s early works. The artist’s reflections and refractions inspired the second room where a a pattern of house shapes wraps the floor and the walls.
Further on, visitors can climb a staircase to look down on a grid of black houses with roofs gradually opening up the further away. The setting explores Escher’s subject of “the regular division of the plane”, walking though the ‘graphic village’ guests can discover various works.
Iconic optical illusions are on show in a forest of floating black metal pipes creating extreme perspectives just like in Escher’s most deceiving designs. Visitors can also venture into optical illusion themselves by venturing into a corridor with an entrance almost 4m high and a back wall just 50 cm tall.
A circular space featuring Escher’s works exploring reflections and geometric forms guests a huge chandelier made from over 50.ooo small flat black and white houses silhouettes. In another space, a white walkway snakes through a pitch black room hosting the artist’s 1969 Snakes series.
The research and design process around the exhibition has also brought about the creation of House for Escher, an 11-piece object collection a new addition to NGV’s permanent collection. “What started as paper mockups and tests has evolved into three-dimensional objects made from black and white painted metal,” says Oki Sato.
All photos of the ESCHER x NENDO | BETWEEN TWO WORLDS exhibition by Takumi Ota – courtesy of nendo.