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m. c. escher Quotes

M. C. Escher Quotes

Birth Date: 1898-06-17 (Friday, June 17th, 1898)
Date of Death: 1972-03-27 (Monday, March 27th, 1972)



    • We live in a beautiful and orderly world, not in a chaos without norms, as we sometimes seem to.
    • My work is a game, a very serious game.
    • It is human nature to want to exchange ideas, and I believe that, at bottom, every artist wants no more than to tell the world what he has to say. I have sometimes heard painters say that they paint 'for themselves': but I think they would soon have painted their fill if they lived on a desert island. The primary purpose of all art forms, whether it's music, literature, or the visual arts, is to say something to the outside world; in other words, to make a personal thought, a striking idea, an inner emotion perceptible to other people's senses in such a way that there is no uncertainty about the maker's intentions.
    • The result of the struggle between the thought and the ability to express it, between dream and reality, is seldom more than a compromise or an approximation. Thus there is little chance that we will succeed in getting through to a large audience, and on the whole we are quite satisfied if we are understood and appreciated by a small number of sensitive, receptive people.
    • It may seem paradoxical to say that there are similarities between a poetical and a commercial mind, but it is a fact that both a poet and a businessman are constantly dealing with problems that are directly related to people and for which sensitivity is of prime importance. The business-like mind is sometimes described as being cold, sober, calculating, hard; but perhaps these are simply qualities that are necessary for dealing with people if one wants to achieve anything. One is always concerned with the mysterious, incalculable, dark, hidden aspects for which there is no easy formula, but which form essentially the same human element as that which inspires the poet.
    • When someone forgets himself, this by no means makes him altruistic; when a thinking person forgets himself, he immediately also forgets his fellowman, he loses himself and his humanity by becoming engrossed in his subject. Thus he is in a sense more contemplative than a feeling person.
    • As far as I know, there is no proof whatever of the existence of an objective reality apart from our senses, and I do not see why we should accept the outside world as such solely by virtue of our senses. These reality enthusiasts are possibly playing at hide-and-seek; at any rate they like to hide themselves, though they are not usually aware of it. They simply do it because they happen to have been born with a sense of reality, that is, with a great interest in so- called reality, and because man likes to forget himself.
    • I do indeed believe that there is a certain contrast between, say, people in scientific professions and people working in the arts. Often there is even mutual suspicion and irritation, and in some cases one group greatly undervalues the other. Fortunately there is no one who actually has only feeling or only thinking properties. They intermingle like the colors of the rainbow and cannot be sharply divided. Perhaps there is even a transitional group, like the green between the yellow and the blue of the rainbow. This transitional group does not have a particular preference for thinking or feeling, but believes that one cannot do without either the one or the other. At any rate, it is unprejudiced enough to wish for a better understanding between the two parties... It is clear that feeling and understanding are not necessarily opposites but that they complement each other.
    • In my prints I try to show that we live in a beautiful and orderly world and not in a chaos without norms, as we sometimes seem to. My subjects are also often playful. I cannot help mocking all our unwavering certainties. It is, for example, great fun deliberately to confuse two and three dimensions, the plane and space, or to poke fun at gravity. Are you sure that a floor cannot also be a ceiling? Are you absolutely certain that you go up when you walk up a staircase? Can you be definite that it is impossible to eat your cake and have it?
    • It's pleasing to realize that quite a few people enjoy this sort of playfulness and that they are not afraid to look at the relative nature of rock-hard reality.
    • To tell you the truth, I am rather perplexed about the concept of 'art'. What one person considers to be 'art' is often not 'art' to another. 'Beautiful' and 'ugly' are old-fashioned concepts that are seldom applied these days; perhaps justifiably, who knows? Something repulsive, which gives you a moral hangover, and hurts your ears or eyes, may well be art. Only 'kitsch' is not art - we're all agreed about that. Indeed, but what is 'kitsch'? If only I knew!
    • lf l am not mistaken, the words 'art' and 'artist' did not exist during the Renaissance and before: there were simply architects, sculptors, and painters, practicing a trade.
    • I am a graphic artist heart and soul, though I find the term 'artist' rather embarrassing.
    • At moments of great enthusiasm it seems to me that no one in the world has ever made something this beautiful and important.
    • I am always wandering around in enigmas. There are young people who constantly come to tell me: you, too, are making Op Art. I haven't the slightest idea what that is, Op Art. I've been doing this work for thirty years now.
    • I believe that producing pictures, as I do, is almost solely a question of wanting so very much to do it well.
    • I could fill an entire second life with working on my prints.
    • I don't grow up. In me is the small child of my early days.
    • So let us then try to climb the mountain, not by stepping on what is below us, but to pull us up at what is above us, for my part at the stars; amen.
    • The things I want to express are so beautiful and pure.
    • To have peace with this peculiar life; to accept what we do not understand; to wait calmly for what awaits us, you have to be wiser than I am.
    • A woman once rang me up and said, 'Mr. Escher, I am absolutely crazy about your work. In your print - Reptiles - you have given such a striking illustration of reincarnation.' I replied, 'Madam, if that's the way you see it, so be it.'
    • By keenly confronting the enigmas that surround us, and by considering and analysing the observations that I have made, I ended up in the domain of mathematics, Although I am absolutely without training in the exact sciences, I often seem to have more in common with mathematicians than with my fellow artists.
    • Drawing is deception.
    • He who wonders discovers that this in itself is wonder.
    • I don't use drugs, my dreams are frightening enough.
    • I think I have never yet done any work with the aim of symbolizing a particular idea, but the fact that a symbol is sometimes discovered or remarked upon is valuable for me because it makes it easier to accept the inexplicable nature of my hobbies, which constantly preoccupy me.
    • I try in my prints to testify that we live in a beautiful and orderly world, not in a chaos without norms, even though that is how it sometimes appears. My subjects are also often playful: I cannot refrain from demonstrating the nonsensicalness of some of what we take to be irrefutable certainties. It is, for example, a pleasure to deliberately mix together objects of two and three dimensions, surface and spatial relationships, and to make fun of gravity.
    • Only those who attempt the absurd... will achieve the impossible. I think it's in my basement... Let me go upstairs and check.
    • Originality is merely an illusion.
    • Talent and all that are really for the most part just baloney. Any schoolboy with a little aptitude can perhaps draw better than I; but what he lacks in most cases is that tenacious desire to make it reality, that obstinate gnashing of teeth and saying, 'Although I know it can't be done, I want to do it anyway'.
    • The regular division of the plane into congruent figures evoking an association in the observer with a familiar natural object is one of these hobbies or problems...I have embarked on this geometric problem again and again over the years, trying to throw light on different aspects each time. I cannot imagine what my life would be like if this problem had never occurred to me; one might say that I am head over heels in love with it, and I still don't know why.
    • We adore chaos because we love to produce order.
    • What I give form to in daylight is only one per cent of what I have seen in darkness.
    • m. c. escher

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