Bond of Union – M.C. Escher

There are some people in your life that you feel so in tune with, so in sync that you couldn’t imagine your life without them. You could say that these people are to you, your rock, your muse, your inspiration, the people who stand by you through your good times and bad, and who understand you. They take your low moods, because they know they are a passing thing and enjoy life with you when you are back on your feet. They will tell you when you’re acting the fool, but equally will be the first one there to fight your corner.

Escher’s Bond of Union, truly captures this bond in my opinion.

Escher, is probably best well known for his art work of impossible constructions, such as ‘Ascending and Descending’, with its optical illusions, bizarre depth of field and surrealist approach, as well as his tessellating patterns where birds mingle with fish. His mind was well suited to graphic design and over his lifetime he produced 448 lithographs, wood cuts and wood engravings and over 2000 drawings and sketches. Escher also illustrated books, designed tapestries and postage stamps.

Born in the Netherlands, his father was a civil engineer, so it is easy to see where his composite mind came from. When he was enrolled in the school for architecture and graphic design, he told his father after only a week that he would rather study graphic art, and his teacher, Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita, heavily encouraged him.

Escher became fascinated by the regular Division of the Plane, and this formed a bases for some of his tessellation pieces . He also wrote an essay which he commented in ‘in mathematical quarters, the regular division of plan has been considered theoretically…does this mean that it is an exclusively mathematical equation? In my opinion it does not. Mathematicians have opened the gate gate leading to an extensive domain, but they have not entered this domain themselves. By their very nature they are more interested in the way in which the gate opened than the garden laying behind it’. Escher’s mind brought the garden to life.

Bond of Union was created in 1956, and while not one of Escher’s tessellations or architectural pieces, it has an emotional beauty.

The two faces, created from one piece of ribbon, ultimately complete each other, the fractured appearance, almost like orange peel, yet the two faces are complete. They are disjointed from a physical body, giving the impression of the connect going far deeper than the physical, and the relationship between the two transcends the environment around them.

Some have said that this picture has a futuristic feel to it, with the faces seeming more robotic and the spheres around them presenting the image of a futuristic world. That the faces are devoid of emotion, but I don’t see this, I see two content faces, the eyes are soft and the lips slightly turned to a smile, giving me the impression of peaceful union.

For me the spheres, represent outside impacts to the relationship defined by the ribbon faces, they interact and enter the space of the heads, but nothing detracts the two from their bliss.

No matter what you see in this picture, I find Escher’s work truly fascinating and it still attracts people in the attempt to understand and admire it today. What do you see in the Bond of Union? Is there something you see that I don’t? Why not tell me in the comments?


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