A new exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria is blending art and design in an incredibly novel way, presenting the mind-bending work of legendary 20th century artist M.C. Escher within an immersive, custom-designed space created by innovative Japanese design studio nendo.
The exhibition, entitled Escher X nendo: Between Two Worlds, was inspired by the influence Escher's work has had on architecture and design over the past 50 years. In an attempt to transcend the conventional idea of an exhibition space, the NGV tasked nendo with creating a series of spaces that function as novel three-dimensional evocations of Escher's work, while also pragmatically functioning as environments to display a large series of classic prints and drawings from the Dutch artist.
"Escher's logical, math-based ideas and interests have inspired nendo's work process and served as a base for the creation of this exhibition design and new collection of works," says Oki Sato, founder of nendo, explaining the origins of the exhibition design. "The different installations vary in scale and in spatial impact, enabling the visitor to experience Escher's world in a very physical way. It's as if they are walking inside Escher's mind, but seeing the exhibition through their own eyes."
The exhibition spans a series of fascinating display spaces created by nendo, often punctuated by a house motif. Two highlights point to the immersively fascinating concept behind the exhibition. Transforming House is a massive split-level space with the lower level taken up by a huge installation showing a row of four black houses transforming into five white houses.
Zooming House is one of nendo's most playful installations, creating a 21-meter (69-ft) house-shaped corridor in a play on Escher's interest in optical illusions. At the entrance to the corridor the height of the space is four meters (13 ft), however, it gradually, and almost imperceptibly, shrinks to just 55 cm (1.8 ft) by the end.
Take a look through our gallery for a closer look at this remarkable exhibition, or visit the space in real life at NGV International in Melbourne, Australia until April 2019.
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