Tim Waldekker

2020, Rotterdam, Nederland

These two monumental images are works of digital craft, ­presenting complimentary ideas in support of the individual liberty and amity that are the foundation of societal achievement. In the first work, Freedom, the figure and setting honor the human right of free-thinking and expression, and its relation to an emergent Rotterdam skyline that embodies reinvention, risk, and embrace of the future. These qualities amount to ­fertile soil for discovery and innovation, and help set up the work Friendship, which relates to the interplay between the real, ‘what is’, and the unreal, ‘what could be’. The image is also a tribute to the rapport that forms between what can seem to be opposing concepts, such as nature and the city.

The creation of the two-part work also demonstrates some of its themes: the artist worked on this scale, theme, and medium for the first time. His images most frequently appear on Instagram under the tag @giantific, offering up surreal and thought-provoking portraits of Rotterdam’s unique culture. The artist’s approach with these new works is a departure, ­relating to pre-digital art history, such as the murals of Diego Rivera for Ford in Detroit completed in 1933, or the series Four Freedoms, by Norman Rockwell, from 1943.

Tim Waldekker has worked as a photographer under the name ‘Giantific – a Creative Giant’ since 2015. Through social media accounts such as Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, he shares his photographs which are often taken in the city centre of Rotterdam. His photo manipulations create surreal environments. Some quirky, such as a giraffe in the Maastunnel, some more critical, such as imagery of the city in a post-apocalyptic setting.

Science Gallery Rotterdam

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Het kunstwerk door de ogen van:

Prof. dr. Maarten Frens

Professor in Systems Physiology and Vice-Dean for Education

A face is a face, and blue and black is not gold and white. However, research, including our own at Erasmus MC, shows that our brain has ‘a mind of its own’. In many situations, we find ourselves fooled by our senses, often right in front of our eyes: We see things that are not there, and we do not see things that are there. These effects can be seen in various ­illusions, and are exploited by magicians, pickpockets and artists.

Research into the misalignments between the ‘real’ reality and the perceived reality provides enormous insights in the functioning of the human senses and the interplay between our brain and our mind. Similarly, by looking about artworks like those created by Tim Waldekker, we can get a view of the astounding transformation from reality, the ‘what is’, into the ‘what could be’, the talent known as ‘imagination’, which is an ultimate capacity of the human mind.

View the floorplan of Science Gallery Rotterdam’s exhibition (UN)REAL


Adding dimensions to the real

An essay by William Myers

Lees essay