Theo Derksen (Geldrop, 1954) followed his education AKV|St. Joost, for many years was head of the visual communication course of Media Design and Technology at Hogeschool Zuyd in Maastricht and gives workshops on storytelling. He lives in Nederweert. He has a number of photo books to his name, including Moments (1993), Cause-Consequence (2008), Kind mijn kind (2016) and Disneyfication.
Theo Derksen noted a striking phenomenon in the streets worldwide: making the environment more beautiful by pasting up large photos. Derelict neighbourhoods, pieces of derelict land, construction sites, ugly residential areas and busy arterial roads are increasingly screened off by walls with images of beautiful architecture, beautiful landscapes or with glamorous images of actresses and fashion models. Ideal images create an illusion of reality, like sets in a film set. Theo Derksen therefore speaks of 'disneyfication'.
This makes people curious about what should be hidden from view, what should remain hidden. We no longer have a free choice in what we see of reality. It is decided for us what we are allowed to see.
With his photos, Theo Derksen breaks through the idealized world by showing irregularities: the cracks in the wallpapers, constructions that disrupt the images or simply the fact that not all ugliness can be covered with photo walls. As if to say that the world cannot be idealized.
Derksen has spent years researching the geographical distribution and various manifestations of the Disneyfication phenomenon in public space in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. His conclusion is that geographical positioning is no longer relevant: the same images appear all over the world. Globalization is a fact.