Fotografiska in Stockholm has opened its gates to Kirsty Mitchell’s Wonderland – probably one of the greatest photographic exhibitions in Scandinavia this winter. The photo exhibition Wonderland is a dream that lets you be totally enchanted. It’s simply impossible to stop watching Kirsty Mitchell’s great photographic storytelling. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience Wonderland in Stockholm.
The self-proclaimed “artist with a camera” gives us a glimpse of the amount of work that goes into each of her pieces. Since 2009 the gifted artist has been working on releasing everything as a photo book in memory of her late mother, the woman who inspired the series to begin with. In 2015 her project was finished, complete with 74 photos.
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“My mother was an English teacher and literature was her passion. Of course, there is too much to write here, but following her death, I suffered severe depression and found myself retreating to an alternative existence through the portal of my camera,” she wrote in 2005.
Wonderland’s magical creations and forest scenes touch as well as fascinate. Her work became an escape from a painful reality as she was reliving the adventure world her mother and she had shared during her upbringing.
“After I lost her, I struggled greatly, I was unable to remember her without being haunted by the memories of the hospital. So, I found myself regressing to the happier times of us sharing the unusual books she constantly collected for myself, and the generations of children who passed through her classroom doors,” she adds. “This escapism grew into the concept of creating an unexplained storybook without words, dedicated to her, that would echo the fragments of the fairytales she read to me constantly as a child.”
The characters are not a recreation of anything that already existed; this is her own personal Wonderland. The story about Kirsty Mitchell and the Wonderland project is like an adventure. An adventure with many interpretations, in many different ways.
Making the book felt like the perfect way to celebrate who she was as a person and the legacy she left behind. It was the faded fragments of the book’s illustrations, mixed up with her dreams and experiences through grief that eventually formed the narrative of the series. Ultimately it became a strange and beautiful place to remember and forget, both in the same bittersweet moment.
Mitchell wanted to create pictures that people would project their own ideas on to, and lose themselves in, each being a visual fable within their own right.
The amazing images captured the world’s attention, and Mitchell quickly developed an enormous following. All the photos show real staged scenes that feature costumes and sets that Mitchell created by hand. Each scene is assembled in front of the camera like small film sets, placed in the middle of landscapes that surround Mitchell’s Surrey, UK, home.
“Wonderland” is on view at Fotografiske in Stockholm until March 3rd 2019.
“The exhibition will be a fairy tale experience – a colorful fireworks where magic and reality meet on the road we call life,” says exhibition producer Lisa Hydén at Fotografiske.
Wonderland in Stockholm, written by Tor Kjolberg