Revisiting Doc ‘Adventures in Perception,’ a Look Into Escher

by Andy SmithPosted on

A year before his death in 1972, M.C. Escher’s process and essence was captured by fellow Dutch creative Han van Gelder for the 20-minute film “Adventures in Perception.” The documentary, while short, is a striking portrait of the artist, whose tessellations, perspective-shifting drawings, and studies garnered fans in both the art and scientific fields. The film was crafted for Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands’ program “Living Art The Netherlands.”

Escher’s impact on the scientists and mathematicians was enormous, though he wasn’t a formal mathematician. And his work has informed several strands of research in these fields. One passage: “This name, ‘artist’; I’ve always been very suspicious about it. I don’t actually know what it means. I don’t even know what art is. I do know what science is, but I’m no scientist.”

Laughing Squid’s story on the doc.

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M. C Escher wrote of this print: ‘The disc is divided into six sections in which, turn and turn about, the angels on a black background and the devils on a white one, gain the upper hand. In this way, heaven and hell change place six times. In the intermediate, “earthly” stages, they are equivalent’. The extraordinary level of finesse involved in the cutting of the woodblocks for these Circle Limit prints required Escher to use strong magnifying glasses. #NGVEXN #Escher • M. C. Escher Circle limit IV (Heaven and hell) July 1960 woodcut, printed in ochre and black inks Escher Collection, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, The Hague, the Netherlands © The M. C. Escher Company, the Netherlands. All rights reserved

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From the beginning of his work on tessellations, Escher was interested in finding ways of representing infinity. This posed a significant challenge for the artist and he explored different pictorial solutions over the years. In the mid 1950s he developed tessellations with regularly diminishing motifs towards the centre of the composition, where the limit was reached of the infinitely small and infinitely many. Smaller and smaller is the first of these. The reduction of form and regularly alternating colours of the lizards create a complex and highly decorative pattern. #NGVEXN #Escher • M. C. Escher Smaller and smaller October 1956 woodcut and wood engraving, printed in brown and black inks Escher Collection, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, The Hague, the Netherlands © The M. C. Escher Company, the Netherlands. All rights reserved

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