In January 2015, Nicola Erni commissioned British fashion photographer Tim Walker to create a series of photographs of his own choice. Exactly a year later, Factum Arte was approached by Walker and Erni through an introduction by Michael Hoppen (founder & director of the Michael Hoppen Gallery, London), to produce a series of 27 vast digital prints of images taken by the photographer.
Tim Walker (born: 1970), best known for working for many years as a commercial photographer for British, American and Italian Vogue, has exhibited his works at solo exhibitions for a number of years, in spaces such as Somerset House (2012), the Design Museum (2008) and the Bowes museum (2013). He also received numerous awards during the length of his career, including the Infinity Award for the International Center for Photography, and an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal Photographic Society.
Walker´s obsession with 15th century Netherlandish Master, Hieronymus Bosch, led him to create his own take on Garden of Earthly Delights. Together with set designer, Shona Heath, the photographer recreated the key elements from a Boschian world. The shoot, which took place over five days at Eglingham Hall in Northumberland, produced a series of sensational, symbolic and highly sensory photographs, filled with exquisitely sensual characters and objects, and deeply striking mise-en-scène.
One of the 27 vast scaled prints by Tim Walker
The prints, which can now be found at Nicola Erni´s private collection in Zug, Switzerland, were materialised by Factum Arte, and are a result of several material and technological innovations which have been taking place within the Factum Arte studios over several years.
Tim Walker requested that Factum Arte produce the large-scale prints at the highest definition possible on a flexible material which could be easily transported. The digital printing team at Factum Arte, led by Rafa Rachewsky, proposed a material they had been developing for some time: ¨flex-gesso¨ or gesso coated linen. This flexible material bares a beautifully seductive surface which is relatively light and easy to transport. It is versatile in that it´s style and dimensions can be tailor-made to fit the needs of any artwork.
Test prints on "flex gesso" or gesso coated linen
Miguel-Ángel Alves Álvarez preparing the gesso
The team approached the project by printing small-scale test prints on flex gesso sample, to adjust the print´s colour and tone to match colour samples provided by Walker´s studio. These steps are essential for the work´s transformation from digital image to physical print.
Applying gesso to the vast canvases
A team was appointed to prepare the gesso coated linen. The material was coated in several layers of gesso to cover the underlying texture and produce a smooth material that could be easily printed on with the modified flatbed printer.
Each large-scale work is printed in sections without visible joins
The images were then printed at the highest definition that the original files allowed by Factum´s digital print-maker, Rafa Rachewsky. Rafa printed the images onto the flex gesso using the modified flatbed printer designed by Dwight Perry. The printer, that can print multiple layers in perfect registration, had been designed so that the printing support can be wrapped around the bed of the printer. This means the entire image can be printed onto one single piece of canvas. The desired image is printed in sections with each section joining perfectly to the next along features in the image. This results in a vast print - up to 5.7 x 3 meters without any visible joins. As all the material is prepared inhouse the surface can be modified to the needs of each artist.
The flatbed printer prints in many layers to obtain the high-definition required, keeping perfect registration
Once digitally printed, each piece was retouched by hand by Factum´s Silvia Álvarez and varnished. Frames and signature plaques were made in house.
Jordi García Pons polishing the final works
Rafa Rachewski varnishing the largest piece from the The Garden of Earthly Delights series
Next year the exhibition will move to the Noordbrabants Museum's-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands.
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