A few days ago, the Kunstmuseum Den Haag opened the exhibition “Other world” (> Another world) on the occasion of the 125th birthday of the artist M. C. Escher. In this exhibition, visitors experience the work of Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898-1972) as never before. His famous prints, which deal with optical illusions, impossible architecture, reflection and nature, are combined with spectacular installations by the Belgian architect and artist duo Gijs Van Vaerenbergh. Never before has the Kunstmuseum made such an intervention in an exhibition.
Image above: M.C. Escher, Relativity, 1953, woodcut. Collection Kunstmuseum Den Haag. © M.C. Escher Company – Baarn – Holland. All rights reserved. www.mcescher.com
This unique combination sheds new light on the popular and versatile artist Maurits Cornelis Escher, who continues to inspire people of all ages worldwide, including mathematicians, architects, artists and art lovers, 125 years after his birth.
Escher’s prints are the result of unparalleled talent and an almost obsessive devotion to the graphic craft. His work, like that of Gijs Van Vaerenbergh, is an exploration of the boundaries of space, landscape, perspective and illusion. What paper is to Escher, spatial installation is to Gijs Van Vaerenbergh. For this exhibition, which shows a cross-section of M.C. Escher’s work, Gijs Van Vaerenbergh has developed room-filling interventions. These interventions consist of sculptures based on themes such as lightness and heaviness, temporality and eternity, impossible architecture and infinity; themes that also play a central role in Escher’s work.
Day and Night
For the design of this double exhibition, Gijs Van Vaerenbergh chose the contrast of day and night favoured by Escher. The first part of the exhibition, entitled “DAY”, takes place in large, bright, thematically arranged rooms in which Escher’s work and Gijs Van Vaerenbergh’s spatial installations challenge and reinforce each other. In the second part of the exhibition, entitled “NIGHT”, Gijs Van Vaerenbergh is given space to combine his models of dream architecture with more intuitive and idiosyncratic elements from Escher’s work.
About Gijs Van Vaerenbergh
The impressive work of the duo Gijs Van Vaerenbergh lies at the interface between art and architecture. Arnout Van Vaerenbergh and Pieterjan Gijs (both Leuven, 1983) found each other while studying architecture in search of a new spatial experience. Their idiosyncratic artworks often have a surprising, changing appearance. What looks like a recognisable building from a distance, such as a church, a mill or a labyrinth, is perceived up close more as an abstract composition of simple elements that lack a fixed form. In this way, Gijs Van Vaerenbergh plays with the viewer’s eye and his experience of the environment. Escher – Other World is her first major museum exhibition.
Escher and the Art Museum
The collection of Escher’s works at the Kunstmuseum Den Haag is the largest Escher museum collection in the world. This is due to the connection between Escher and the Kunstmuseum that has existed here since his first major retrospective in 1968: The Worlds of M.C. Escher. Escher was very enthusiastic about this first survey of his work. After Escher’s death, the Art Museum acquired a considerable part of his oeuvre. Part of it is always on display in Escher in Het Paleis.
2023: The Hague – City of Escher
The year 2023 marks the 125th anniversary of the birth of Maurits Cornelis Escher. With the largest Escher museum collection in the world, The Hague Art Museum and Escher in Het Paleis will be the centre of this special anniversary year. With four exhibitions and numerous activities with cultural partners, schools, neighbourhoods and entrepreneurs in the city, The Hague will be Escher’s city in 2023. During this anniversary year, several buildings in the city centre as well as shop windows will be decorated in the Escher style.
Escher’s discoverer: Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita
From 18 February to 1 October 2023, the Escher in Het Paleis will present the special exhibition about Maurits Cornelis Escher’s discoverer: Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita. This talented artist and graphic designer was also a teacher of graphic techniques at the College of Architecture and Decorative Arts. When Escher began studying architecture there, De Mesquita got to see his graphic works. He was so impressed that he convinced Escher to switch to his subject. Escher subsequently developed into a master of graphics, and the two formed an artistic and personal bond for life. Even after De Mesquita’s death in Auschwitz in 1944, Escher honoured his teacher and friend. In this exhibition, the poignant prints of Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita are shown side by side with the works of his most famous student.
Saturday, 18th Februar until Sunday, 10. September 2023
open Tue – Sun 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
2517 HV Den Haag