“Mathematicians,” wrote M.C. Escher in a 1958 essay, “have opened the 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 is opened than in the garden lying behind it.”

In the more than 170 works now showing at the Bunkamura Museum of Art in Shibuya, the garden of Escher’s imagination spreads before us. It is an Eden of optical innocence and experience, in which the artist draws the impossible — a circular stairway that goes neither up nor down (“Ascending and Descending,” 1960), a ladder that is simultaneously both inside and outside a building (“Belvedere,” 1961).

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