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David Umemoto: Architect of the Impossible

14 November 2019 to 9 February 2020

Two artists, two disciplines, but a shared fondness for enigmatic architecture. In winter 2019/2020, Escher in The Palace brought together the work of artist M.C. Escher (1898 – 1972) and the sculptures of contemporary artist and architect David Umemoto (1975) for the first time.

Canadian artist David Umemoto balances on the line between sculpture and architecture. He began his career as an architect. For years, he worked on architectural projects, but gradually gained an interest in working on a smaller scale, namely creating objects. A year in Indonesia officially steered him in a different direction, when he shifted his focus from architecture to sculpture.

David Umemoto, Grey Matter 2, 2019. Modern Shapes Gallery
David Umemoto, Stairway 12, 2019. Modern Shapes Gallery

Nowadays, David Umemoto’s sleek concrete sculptures of buildings and monuments push the envelope of perfection in both disciplines: stairs lead nowhere and walls stop in the wrong place. The architectural elements of the buildings are difficult to place. In the beginning of his career, Umemoto’s mysterious objects were inspired by the architecture and primitive arts of Africa, Polynesia and North and South America. They appeal to the imagination: Is this building really found in the jungle of South America or only in an Escherian fantasy world?

David Umemoto, District 1, 2018. Modern Shapes Gallery
David Umemoto, District 2, 2018. Modern Shapes Gallery

The art of both Giorgio de Chirico and Giovanni Battista Piranesi is an important source of inspiration to David Umemoto, who also finds inspiration in the works of M.C. Escher. Umemoto admires the skills with which Escher moulds the space in his prints to his own purposes. In the exhibition at Escher in The Palace, the museum brings together the graphic works of art and sculptures of two inspiring artists. Both artists are masters in their disciplines in creating a mysterious world in which they happily disregard all the customary rules of architecture. Both are architects of the impossible.

David Umemoto is represented by Modern Shapes Gallery in Antwerp.

David Umemoto,Gateway 2, 2019. Modern Shapes Gallery
David Umemoto, Stairway 10, 2019. Modern Shapes Gallery

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