An interactive exhibition at the library of Genk
In March 2018 the public library of Genk (Belgium) opened the interactive exhibition The world of Leo Timmers. It celebrates the 25th anniversary of Leo Timmers’ career as a children’s book author and illustrator, as well as the 10th anniversary of the beautiful and spacious library building by architect Claude Vasconi. On the large frontside windows of the building you can meet a giant whale and many of Deep-sea Doctor Derek’s friends, while the building’s streetside windows has animals in cars driving up and down. Inside the library you can hop on Ziggy’s Zoo Tram, crawl inside a rocket and meet Franky, explore the ocean in Deep-sea Doctor Derek’s little submarine or get all technical and hands-on inside Gus’s Garage.
The concept was dreamed up by Leo Timmers and his long time collaborator Maarten Deckers during the summer of 2017. It gradually came to life with the help of Ann Vanderheyden, Danny Bierset and many other helping hands. We all tried to build a fun and immersive experience for children young and old. Perhaps our campaign image says it best: expect to meet busloads of funny and colorful characters from Leo’s children’s books and tv animations that will invite you on a journey, above or below water, through the world of Leo Timmers.
Concept & Art Direction: Leo Timmers & Maarten Deckers
Coordination: Danny Bierset & Ann Vanderheyden
Graphic Design: Maarten Deckers
Illustrations: Leo Timmers
Construction: Technische Dienst Genk & Kunstschool Genk
ZIGGY & THE ZOOTRAM
The centrepiece in the library’s atrium is the life-sized zootram. It functions as a tiny cinema where children can lie down on cushions and watch episodes from Ziggy & The Zootram, Leo Timmers’ 3D-animated tv-series about a smart little crocodile called Ziggy. He and his animal friends live in their kooky houses in a crater on an island and they have a special secret - besides walking like people, talking like people and dressing like people - they all work at a zoo! And when they are on their way to work in their magical transforming tram, something crazy always happens.
The exhibition wall in the library’s atrium displays about 50 of Leo’s illustrations ranging from children’s book illustrations and book covers to editorial illustrations and posters. Rather than making it retrospective, we made a selection based on recurring themes and motives, like Magritte, cars, sharks, kings, robots, busy street scenes, etc. The frames are hanging low so children can get up close.
FRANKY & DEEP-SEA DOCTOR DEREK
These two columns take you into the worlds of Franky, a story about a friendship between a boy and his robot, and Deep-sea Doctor Derek, a doctor who cares for patients that live in the ocean. Each column exhibits 3 original illustrations and has a hole in the back through which you can crawl to get inside Franky’s rocket or Derek’s little submarine. Kids can stick their little heads out so mom or dad can take a picture.
Another big feature in the exhibition is Gus’s Garage which, apart from its height, closely resembles the garage from the picture book. And just like in the story, Gus's workshop is full of odds and ends like old tires, oil barrels, wheel hubs, an old fridge and sofa and even a bathtub. Only now these objects hold a surprise: when you pick up Gus’s phone, push a button on his radio or sit in his sofa and wear his helmet, a voice comes on and tells you a story. There’s also a bath on wheels to sit in and read, a cool vintage scooter to climb on and a special oil barrel. When you push its button and look through its peeping hole, you can see cars driving circles around Gus’s Garage.
3-D PRINTING ZIGGY
This part of the exhibition focuses on technique and shows kids how a 3D print is made. During each day of the exhibition, a model of Ziggy is printed live so kids can see how the printer builds up Ziggy, layer by layer, using plastic filament. During workshops kids can hand paint a detailed, high quality powder print of Ziggy.