Before we dive into the exciting, wonderfully weird world of Tim Burton, I wanted to say how big of a fan I am of him. This exhibition was not only a visit for the fan in me, but this was also a dream come true, a way of connecting with one of my heroes, even though I have never met him. As an artist myself, I was always worried about the drawings I made, not knowing if I’m good enough. I found a new source of energy and inspiration for this exhibition, and I found some things I had in common, which I never knew was ‘normal‘ in a sense.
Jenny He, the curator behind the exhibition, made exceptional work of bringing Tim Burton’s art, vision and legendary stop-motion animation figures to Belgium, to one of the most creative cities there are. She started off by bringing the very first exhibition in the Museum of Moder Art (MoMA) in New York, right now she’s touring to the world to bring a piece of Tim Burton’s vision to many countries like Germany, France, and now, Belgium. I had the privilege to see a tour with a few selected people, where Jenny He told Tim Burton’s story through his art. The mining facility, based in Genk, Belgium has its own history, now added with a touch of Burton’s work, to make an exquisite new experience.
Not only did Jenny He and her dedicated team of people working beside Tim Burton bring the exhibition to Belgium, but they also brought it home to an extraordinary place in Belgian history. The exhibition is built right into the heart of the mining facility of Genk, where next to his work, they used the location to give his work something extra. An experience that is utterly stunning, and that you do not just see his artwork in real life, but that brings you into the perfect sphere to see it in.
While taking the tour with the incredible Jenny He, she explained a little bit more about the exhibition and how it came to be. She told some themes that categorized Burton’s work. Because he always kept his work, but he never held a date, he was never aware of the time, and I liked they didn’t use a timeline for this exhibition as it doesn’t represent him well. The main themes in the exhibition were Around The World, The Carnivalesque, Figurative Works, Film Characters, Holidays, Influences, The Misunderstood Outcasts, Polaroids and, Unrealized Projects.
I will not be giving much away of what you’ll see, because I genuinely believe this is something you have to look at with your own eyes. Burton’s work is so personal, so him, that it’s hard to put into words. I will, however, give you a little preview of what you can expect from some of the themes.
Around The World
Around The World is the first theme you walk into when you start the exhibition. It shows how Tim Burton creates, and, he is not limited to his medium. Tim Burton once said in an interview that if his hands aren’t doing anything, he’s drawing. I do believe this is where you see that he gets his inspiration out of the real world. A good 80% of the drawings made in this section are drawn on napkins from in bars or restaurants.
A lot of works in this category never saw the light, until the exhibition that Jenny He started in 2009. Many drawings he made and that I inspected closely were from in the time he worked for Disney. He made nearly 600 images for a movie, and Disney decided to not use any of them in the film, which is a big mistake they made.
The location, the artwork, and the exclusive life-size Edward Scissorhands 3D maquette he brought showed that Burton’s work is not limited to what he draws on. He’s a true storyteller, and you can see that in his translated works. Everything about this exhibition and even the Burton Café was in true Burtonesque style.
Right now, The World of Tim Burton is residing at C-Mine in Genk, Belgium until the end of November. There are no other details about where you’ll see the exhibition next. You can buy tickets to the exhibition on the C-Mine website. Are you going to this exhibition? Let us know in the comments below.