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Who is Tom Wilkins? That is the question Sébastien Girard has been trying to answer since 2011 when he acquired 900 enigmatic Polaroids, which were later published in 2017 under the title My TV Girls. This series of television captures, ranging from 1978 to 1982, consistently features women and concludes with the only self-portrait in the series where Tom Wilkins portrays himself as a woman. Found in an house in Boston, United States, the acquisition of this extensive photographic series gave rise to the almost detective-like investigation that Sébastien Girard pursued for nearly 12 years in order to unravel the mystery of Tom Wilkins.

Tom Wilkins - © christian berst — art brut
Date 1951 — 2007
Country United States

What we know about Tom Wilkins can be summed up in a few words: he is believed to have lived from 1951 to 2007 and likely resided in Boston. So how should we interpret his body of images? They serve as illustrations, albeit with a certain rawness, of how television, and American society along with it, shaped the image of the desirable woman at that time. It becomes apparent that Wilkins raises much deeper questions, ranging from the quest for identity to the sublimation of libido. Wilkins’ self-portrait, taken in a mirror with his face obscured by the camera and dressed in a bra, acts as the key to this enigma. By sifting through and assembling these Polaroids like an editor, Sébastien Girard discovers the main clue hidden at the heart of the work: Wilkins’ signature placed on the white frame of the photograph. This final Polaroid seems to overshadow the entire body of work, opening up the complex realm of the gender question.
The work is both unique and kaleidoscopic, absorbed by its sole subject, carrying passion to the point of methodical, applied, and studious documentation. It possesses the magnetism of the stars he photographs, through an eye that one can imagine is transported and ecstatic. With a gesture that is fascinated and enamored, becoming as natural as a reflex through repetition. Shot after shot, Tom Wilkins transforms into a snapshot of femininity at the turning point of the 1980s, embodying the comfortable and anticipatory voracity of the television viewer. Wilkins goes as far as constructing a memory. The immediacy of the polaroid, which instantly captures an image with a single motion, responds perfectly to this endeavor—unlike Miroslav Tichy, whose voyeuristic obsession relies on the accidents of development, variations in aperture, and exposure time.
Through this methodical collection of female subjects elevated to the status of icons, Tom Wilkins simultaneously reveals and eludes himself, leaving us ultimately alone in front of the bluish beauty of his captivating ensemble. By turning this collection into a book, Sébastien Girard adds a fictional dimension to Tom Wilkins’ documentary photography, made available through his enigmatic story. In the realm of publishing, it forms the script for a film yet to be made or unearthed.

duo show: tomasz machciński and tom wilkins in collaboration with the ricco/maresca gallery
Independent Art Fair, new york. From May 9 to 12, 2024.
my tv girls
paris photo, stand A25, Grand Palais Éphémère. From November 9 to 12, 2023.
tom wilkins
bad timing, the bridge. From November 2, 2023 to January 14, 2024.
Tom Wilkins - © christian berst — art brut
Tom Wilkins - © christian berst — art brut
Tom Wilkins - © christian berst — art brut
Tom Wilkins - © christian berst — art brut
Press review
The Best Booths at Independent New York, Where Muted Art Commands Maximal Attention
Alex Greenberger, ARTnews. May 10, 2024.
An Embarrassment of Style at the Independent
Will Heinrich, The New York Times. May 9, 2024.
Charlotte Jansen, Independent Features. May 1, 2024.
Clichés volés
Julie Chaizemartin, Transfuge. December 21, 2023.
Blümelein mit Vögelein
Peter Truschner, Perlentaucher. December 8, 2023.
View more
christian berst art brut : Tom Wilkins : My TV girls & Bad Timing
L’oeil De La Photographie. December 7, 2023.
Ambiguity Behind a Polaroid: “My TV Girls” by Tom Wilkins
Irenebrination. November 28, 2023.
‘They were creepy, a bit weird’: the mystery behind the ‘My TV Girls’ fetish archive
Charlotte Jansen, The Guardian. November 27, 2023.
PARIS PHOTO, coup de projecteur
Clément Sauvoy, Edgar Magazine. November 18, 2023.
Tom Wilkins, My Tv girls
Alix Van Pee, 28 Minutes Arte. November 18, 2023.
Paris Photo : un bilan en 12 transactions
Rafael Pic, Alison Moss, Stéphanie Pioda, Sophie Bernard, Léopold Vassy, Le Quotidien De L’Art. November 15, 2023.
Christian Berst Art Brut – Tom Wilkins, My Tv girls / Bad Timing
Muse Magazine. November 13, 2023.
Paris Photo 2023 : christian berst art brut : Tom Wilkins : My Tv girls
L’œil De La Photographie. November 11, 2023.
Paris Photo : 10 stands éblouissants à ne surtout pas rater
Inès Boittiaux, Beaux Arts Magazine. November 10, 2023.
Paris Photo 2023 : nos dix coups de cœur
Valérie Duponchelle, Béatrice De Rochebouët, Le Figaro. November 10, 2023.
Paris Photo en neuf coups de cœur - le stand le plus glaçant : galerie christian berst, My Tv girls
Yasmine Youssi, Télérama. November 9, 2023.
Il photographie les poitrines des femmes sur sa télé : le mystère Tom Wilkins dévoilé à Paris Photo
Julien Bordier, L’OBS. November 9, 2023.
Paris Photo 2023 : qu’allez-vous voir au Grand Palais Éphémère ? 12 artistes à ne pas manquer - tom wilkins my tv girls
Agathe Hakoun, Anne-Sophie Lesage-Münch, Connaissance Des Arts. November 9, 2023.
Paris Photo, nel regno dell’imagine
Gianluigi Colin, Corriera Della Sera. November 9, 2023.
Paris Photo 2023 : top départ de la 26e édition - des solo show à ne pas rater
Justine Grosset, Phototrend. November 9, 2023.
Paris Photo : les 10 stands à ne pas rater - Tom Wilkins My Tv girls
Julien Bordier, L’OBS. November 9, 2023.
que verrez-vous au Grand Palais Éphémère ? 12 artistes à ne pas manquer
News Day FR. November 9, 2023.
Paris Photo 2023 : Réel vs. numérique, le mano à mano - Tom Wilkins my tv girls
Sophie Bernard, Le Quotidien De L’Art. November 8, 2023.
Paris Photo 2023, 5 œuvres remarquables à voir - la plus énigmatique : tom wilkins my tv girls
Michèle Warnet, Les Echos. November 8, 2023.
à Paris Photo, une image peut en cacher une autre : tom wilkins my tv girls
Alexandre Crochet, The Art Newspaper. November 8, 2023.
Retrouvez les polaroids de Tom Wilkins dans la présentation du programme de Paris Photo 2023
Youtube Paris Photo. November 7, 2023.
Paris Photo 2023, la sélection de Art is Heart : Tom Wilkins - galerie christian berst art brut
Art Is Heart. November 7, 2023.
Paris Photo, notre guide pour ne rien manquer à la foire parisienne : des photos brutes - Tom Wilkins my tv girls
Carla, News DayFR. November 7, 2023.
Tom Wilkins “My Tv girls” - Paris Photo 2023 : notre guide pour ne rien rater de la foire parisienne
Thibaut Wychowanok, Numéro. November 6, 2023.
Lunettes Rouges, Le Monde. November 5, 2023.
Paris à l’heure photographique ! Tom Wilkins My Tv girls
Fomo-vox. November 5, 2023.
Mis chicas de la tele (Tom Wilkins & friends)
Pili Ospina Silvain, Aficionada Al Arte. November 5, 2023.
Novembre, le mois de toutes les photos : Tom Wilkins My Tv girls
Sophie Bernard, Beaux Arts Magazine. October 31, 2023.
Paris Photo Returns With a Renewed Focus on Women Artists—and a New Section Dedicated to Digital Art Making
Artnet. October 30, 2023.
Paris Photo revient une dernière fois au Grand Palais éphémère
Paul Miquel, The Good Life. October 27, 2023.
Simon Baker
Arthur Walther
United States
Carmen and Daniel Klein collection
Treger Saint Silvestre collection
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Tom Wilkins

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