Singapore, Singapore – February 11, 2017
Leaving Chiang Mai, Thailand behind, I arrived back in Singapore around 15:00. I just lounged in the Marriott Southbeach Hotel, searching the internet for something to do the following day. I discovered there was an M. C. Escher exhibit at the ArtScience Museum. I immediately knew that was the place for me the next morning.
M. C. Escher fascinated me from the first time I saw his work when I was a child. He is a world-renown graphic artist. Escher’s life spanned 1898 to 1972. Born in the Netherlands, he is best known for works such as Relativity and Metamorphosis.
The following morning, I walked the 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles) to the ArtScience Museum to ensure I arrived in time for the 10:00 opening. To get to the museum, one walks across the Helix Bridge. It is like walking through a metal DNA string. The overall length of the bridge is 280 meters (918 feet). It opened to the public in 2010. The bridge is just one of the amazing architectural features of Singapore.
The museum is at the base of another architectural marvel, the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. The hotel is massive, with more than 2,500 hotel rooms. The structure at the top of the hotel is a park. That park is about 340 meters (1,120 feet) long. Most impressive, it includes an infinity-edge swimming pool. The view from the park and pool must be spectacular.
The ArtScience Museum reminds one of the lilies in the ponds in front of the museum. It sort of looks like an overgrown lily blossoming from the waters of Marina Bay. It is the oddest shaped building I have ever entered. However; once inside the exhibition areas, I do not think the spaces belied the unique exterior shape of the building.
I waited at the front of the museum with about a dozen others, waiting for it to open. When it did open, I bought my full-access ticket. I immediately went to the M. C. Escher exhibit. Walking around the corner into the exhibition, I had to stop and catch my breath. Escher made well over 400 lithographs and woodcuts during his career. I found myself viewing nearly half of those. It was astounding!
It was exciting, moving from one lithograph to another, remembering the first time I had seen many of them in my youth. It seemed I had goosebumps nearly every time I viewed a different work. The most surprising work to me was Metamorphosis II. The surprising part was the overall scale of the piece. It spans an amazing 3,895mm by 192mm (12.8 feet by 7.5 inches). I find it fascinating to view such original work.
In addition to the stunning exhibit, it was just as stunning to realize I had the entire exhibition to myself. Other than docents, there was no one else viewing the works but for me. I walked through the whole exhibit without seeing any other visitors. My photograph of Metamorphosis II demonstrates what the entire show looked like; empty. At the end of the display, I returned to the start to look at some of my favorites pieces again. When I did that, I did encounter others in the exhibit, but very few in total.
After my second pass through the exhibit, I stopped in the museum store. Enjoying the presentation so, I had to buy a copy of the museum’s exhibit book. No one else in my family may enjoy the odd hardback book, but I will treasure it for years to come.
The area I enjoyed the most after I left the Escher exhibit was the exhibit dealing with light. There were many beautiful uses of light; although it was a little challenging to capture them with my camera.
I decided my next stop would be the Singapore Flyer. I walked back across the Helix Bridge to the Flyer. The Singapore Flyer ain’t your momma’s Ferris wheel. It is one of the largest giant observation wheels in the world, at 165 meters (541 feet) tall. That is nearly the height of two American football fields stacked end to end. Each of the viewing-pods can hold 28 people. When I rode the Flyer, there were only five other people in the viewing-pod. That made it easy to move about and see multiple views.
The Flyer does not stop to take on or drop off passengers. It moves continuously. There is staff at the transition points to assist passengers on and off. Traveling at roughly 0.76 km/h (0.5 mph), it takes about 30 minutes to make one full revolution. During the revolution, the viewing-pods rotate a full 360 degrees within their housing. That means there is virtually nothing interfering with views from the Flyer out to the various sights.
The viewing-pod “behind” us was a dining-pod. There were no people in that pod while I was there, but it is set to serve a meal to about ten people while floating through the air. That is something for me to try on a future journey.
It was unnerving to crest the top. The 165 meters are really very high!
I went back to the hotel to rest until it was time to go to the airport.