A lot has changed in the world since the corona crisis. This is also the case at Escher in The Palace. After weeks of keeping our doors closed, we are finally open to the public again. However, this is different than usual. Our colleagues are happy to tell you about these new times in the museum and their own function in our Co-worker Monday.
Intern Doris de Bruijn
What exactly do you do at Escher in The Palace?
I am the intern at Escher in The Palace. My internship entails me helping curator Judith Kadee with the exhibitions and the permanent collection presentation and Erik Kersten with marketing and communication. The fact that we are a fairly small team means I am able to take on many different tasks. For example, I am involved in social media posts, but I am also helping out with the new exhibitions that are coming up. One of the best projects I have been engaged in so far is interviewing my colleagues for Co-worker Monday. Having to stay at home because of the corona crisis has prevented me from meeting most my new colleagues in person. And yet I have really enjoyed the chance to get to know most of them by interviewing them over the phone.
How has the crisis affected your internship?
It has had quite an impact. The beginning of my internship pretty much coincided with the lockdown. That is why I started my internship working from home. Recently I was allowed to come in to the office, which was an extraordinary experience. I could just walk through an empty museum! Although I think it is a pity that I have not been able to spend a significant proportion of my internship at the most beautiful office in the Netherlands, I also think the creative way in which we carried on with our work was awesome. I started my internship at a museum that was no longer able to fulfil one of its most important tasks: receiving visitors. Despite that, no one stopped working for a moment. I was able to get started from day one. Especially in recent weeks, when we were trying to make sure we could reopen our doors safely again. Everyone was brimming with enthusiasm because of that.
What have you learned so far and what are you hoping to learn?
This is the first time I am getting to see what goes on behind the scenes at a museum, so I am learning a lot. Both about the workings of a museum and about M.C. Escher himself. Lately, the focus has mainly been on social media, but there is a new exhibition coming this summer about optical glass from the Czech Republic and Slovakia. I am enjoying being part of that process and being able to properly learn how it takes shape from start to finish. I am also participating in a collaborative project run by the education team at Escher in The Palace and The National Theatre (Het Nationaal Theater). This project, which is aimed at adolescents, combines theatrical experience and education on Escher’s art to produce a very special new kind of museum lesson. So there are plenty of interesting projects in the pipeline.
What is your favorite Escher work of art?
I love Escher’s curl-up. To me, this fantastic creature is the perfect example of Escher’s playful spirit. In the lithograph Curl-up (1951), Escher gives a detailed description of the Pedalternorotandomovens centroculatus articulosus, also known as a curl-up. Even just trying to pronounce the Latin name makes me chuckle. It is clear from the text in this print that the curl-up originated from a dissatisfaction with the lack of ‘wheel-shaped, living creatures with the ability to roll’. In a second lithograph by Escher, House of Stairs (1951), we see his creation in action. A number of Escher’s well-known themes, including gravity and relativity, are combined in this print. The funny-looking animal walks and rolls through an infinite stairwell and occasionally looks straight at you with its round eyes and sharp beak. I can enjoy it endlessly. Recently I saw the print in an almost empty museum, which was spectacular! I am very glad that the visitors can come to the museum and see it again.