The entrance to “The World of Tim Burton” exhibition is a toothy clown daring audacious visitors to step through its jaws. As visitors enter, they are greeted by a plethora of little pieces of film history – stop-motion models, set pieces and more. While Burton is mostly known for his cinematic work, the touring exhibition showcases his talents as an illustrator, photographer and writer.
Comprised of more than ten sections, each floor has a thematic thread: the first floor gathers a collections of his drawings and personal projects — random doodles on napkins or hotel notepads; on the second floor you get to see more works from his “unrealized projects” and a few more that were — delicate sculptures of movie characters like Frankenweenie and Robot Boy. There’s also the very rare 20 x 24 large-scale Polaroids he took of some of his iconic characters.
There’s a wealth of rarely-seen individual art pieces and some fascinating tidbits, such as a beautifully produced manuscript that a teenage Burton sent to Disney with hopes of publication and the subsequent rejection letter.
The arts centre located above Xintiandi metro station will be home to all sorts of bizarre models and props from Burton’s films, with organisers promising a show that will create ‘the experience of walking directly into the comedic and ironic, dark yet fantastic world of the genius director.’
The third floor is a haven for Burton-esque selfie lovers, where Burton’s notable sketches are metamorphosed into recreational sculptures equipped with nooks and crannies to crawl into for photo ops.
Approaching the end of the exhibition is an area that incorporates imagery from Burton’s films and artwork designed to be viewed under black light. Burton utilized this in his 1993 film The Nightmare Before Christmas, where he used fluorescent paint in Oogie Boogie’s dungeon to create a vivid effect.