Last weekend passers by in Herne Hill witnessed an unusual sight in the south London suburb — the work in progress of a huge new piece of street art. To coincide with its current exhibition The Amazing World of M.C. Escher, Dulwich Picture Gallery worked with Dulwich Outdoor Gallery and the street artist Phlegm to create the work, which echoes an iconic work by Escher.
Perched on a cherry picker, Phlegm — whose monochrome and finely detailed work has an illustrative quality in tune with Escher's drawings — finished the piece in four days, despite bad weather.
Directly related to the illusionist Dutch draughtsman's mesmerising 1956 lithograph Bond of Union the M.C. Escher piece is located above a takeaway at 155 Dulwich Road, opposite the entrance to Brockwell Park.
The original piece was itself inspired by HG Wells's book The Invisible Man where the protagonist has to wrap himself in bandages in order to be seen. Phlegm's piece echoes Escher's motif of the surreal unravelling of a head and shoulders into strands of ribbon.
But whereas Escher chose himself and his wife as the subject, Phlegm opts for a disturbing bird-like creature with piercing eyes and forked tongue.
Inspired by paintings in the picture gallery's permanent collection of Old Masters, the Dulwich Outdoor Gallery has walls all over the area painted by some of the world's most famous street artists.
The Amazing World of MC Escher runs until 17 January. We gave it