Bending Gravity at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

A look behind the scenes of this one-of-a-kind film, produced by Stink Studios and directed by film-making duo David & Douglas.

The Concept
"Bending Gravity at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao" follows urban explorer, Trashhand, and free-runner, Johan Tonnoir, as together they explore the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, capturing and re-imaging the iconic building. The journeys of the two explorers through the building play with the concept of time, space and gravity in and around the museum, making it a building where normal rules no longer apply; a space in which perceptions are challenged and reimagined. 

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao opened its hidden doors the two explorers and the film crew, in search of the most unusual and exciting spaces the building had to offer.

The unique practices of the two urban explorers was a central part of the film concept. Whilst Johan's freerunning reflect the dynamism of the building itself, Trashhand's images capture that dynamism in a single moment, they "capture that moment and break its rule, and hold on to that second and that moment forever."

"What thrills me the most about my work are the different jumps, stunts and locations that make every moment unique. Each instant creates a unique movement that will never be reproduced."

Johan Tonnoir

Trashhand is a Chicago photographer specializing in architecture and urban environments.

"No matter how long it takes, when I walk through a space I’m constantly looking for that perfect shot. The shot that speaks to me the most, and I know will resonate with people the most."


Whilst the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is full of special places, getting to them wasn't always easy.

Whether crawling through attics, wading through water or abseiling down to inaccessible terraces, some of the spaces explored by Trashhand and Johan have truly never been publicly seen before.

In this scene the crew was inside an artwork; FOG SCULPTURE #08025 (F.O.G.) by the japanese artist Fujiko Nakaya.

Fujiko Nakaya is the first artist to have worked with fog as a sculptural medium.

In order to shoot in Fujiko Nakaya's sculpture the entire film crew had to kick off their shoes and get their feet wet, as the dense fog sits above an ankle deep pool of water.

Johan experimenting with a backflip against the rounded wall of the museum.

The biggest jump in the film was between two of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao's unconnected terraces. There are more than 5 meters between these terraces and the drop between them is 40 meters high.

"Each curve and every platform influenced my jumps and stunts. It was strange to become familiar with such unusual architecture; for example, to run across a titanium surface that is slippery and robust at the same time. All my landings had to be adapted to this strange, new environment."

Johan Tonnoir

Throughout the film, the building itself has as central a role as the two explorers. The film's cinematography is designed to capture the fantastic, twisting presence of the iconic building.

At its heart, the film's exploration of new, challenged and reimagined perspectives aims to capture the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao’s 20th anniversary motto “Art Changes Everything.” This is certainly true in the case of the Guggenheim Bilbao; a museum that transformed the city of Bilbao itself whilst also providing the home for artwork that helps re-imagine the world around us.

"I like exploring places that are unforgiving, that are unique, special, that I can create and make special. I like showing people things that they could have never imagined seeing before, even though they passed by it a million times."


Guggenheim Bilbao
Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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