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Experience Escher endlessly with Nadir and Zenith

Getting lost in the world of M.C. Escher. Don’t we all want that every now and then?

A few months ago I saw the latest picture book by Wouter van Reek for the first time. For this book, the illustrator and picture book creator has been inspired by none other than M.C. Escher. Wouter playfully highlights the beta side in Escher’s work, in a book for all ages.

The project that Wouter worked on, day in, day out, led to the idea for a playful and cheerful exhibition in Escher in The Palace. The story of the main characters Nadir and Zenith lends itself perfectly to further discovering the art of Escher. Both the similarities and the differences between the two artists are extremely interesting. Wouter and Escher both love science (but they don’t always understand mathematicians!), work precisely and patiently and both have a strong eye for detail. They can also spend hours working on one print without being bored for a second. But the contradictions also make for interesting comparisons. Wouter does everything on the computer and Escher creates everything by hand, using traditional methods. You almost wonder whether programming is the craftmanship of today’s society.

M.C. Escher, Relativity, lithograph, July 1953
Wouter van Reek (inspired by Relativity)

Wouter’s art picture book will be launched on 23 May, together with the opening of the exhibition of the same name. The picture book is full of exciting details, subtleties for Escher fans and small humorous jokes for both children and adults. These are all elements that also appear in the exhibition. In Wouter’s version of the lithograph Bond of Union (1956), for example, he merged the main characters Nadir and Zenith in a similar way. Where in the print of Escher the two heads (of Escher and his wife) can be seen among all kinds of floating spheres, Nadir and Zenith float in the middle of several mathematical symbols. The link with the beta side is unmistakable. Yet the relation is not as simple as it seems: Wouter did not want to make it too easy for mathematicians. Half of the symbols are real mathematic symbols, but the other half Wouter invented himself to fool the audience. And there we see another nice resemblance because both Wouter and Escher love a good pun.
M.C. Escher, Bond of Union, lithograph, April 1956
Wouter van Reek (inspired by Bond of Union)

In this exhibition for young and old, there is something for everyone. The exhibition playfully highlights the prints of Wouter and Escher and allows the viewers to immerse themselves in both worlds. There is a nice corner for the little ones to read and admire the picture book. There’s also a touchscreen filled with dozens of preliminary studies, which let you take a look at Wouter’s world as an artist. This allows you to delve into the exercises for potential characters or the many alternative storyboards and book covers that Wouter devised during the process. Wouter’s story is further highlighted in an in-depth exhibition film, in which he personally explains how this drawing on the computer works. And believe me, it’s not as easy as it seems!

The exhibition Nadir and Zenith in the world of Escher is a feast for the eyes and an experience for young and old. Come visit us and lose yourself in the world of Escher, specially created by Wouter van Reek. Getting lost has never been this much fun.

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