David Wills


A McDonald's advertisement in Vienna showing a face with a smile and pig's nose.

That’s just a nun with a bag of oranges

Taking its title from a mural on the exterior walls of the Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova museum in Turku, this Wunderwall was inspired by Finland’s oldest city, Turku. It focused on the environment, in particular, how society treats our planet as a dump.

This site-specific work was extracted from my digital archive, then in excess of 270,000 images. It focused on recent work created in Finland and the Netherlands. It is peppered with references, some potent, others inane and some to be taken with a grain of salt. It’s as personal as it is impersonal. Some photos speak volumes and others barely whisper, yet when combined as a whole they pop like candy.

The title’s absurdity summed-up how I was feeling about life in general, and the eternal search for meaning as I meandered through it. It was an off-the-cuff remark that meant nothing and yet revealed much.

That’s just a nun with a bag of oranges was exhibited at Peri Photographic Centre, Turku, Finland in August 2014. It comprised 1,296 images, each 15 x 20 cm with the complete work measuring 2.9 x 15.2 metres (height by width).

Installation view of a Wunderwall
Article in Turun Sanomat

Most of us would barely register the objects depicted in the images: wan Band-aids, filmy oil splotches, slumped mattresses, discarded televisions, limp plastic bags, lost underwear, and more. Scattered throughout these tawdry typologies are moments of fleeting beauty, poignant messages via graffiti, and a sense that waste reigns supreme. There is a strong environmental undertone, tainted as it is with futility.

I have many questions: What will it take for us to clean up our act? Why are our transient trends more important than the health of our planet? Why do we have such little respect for wildlife we share it with? Why are we hellbent on destruction? The questions remain answered.

I had a great conversation on opening night with Iina Antinluomo of the Turun Sanomat about That’s just a nun with a bag of oranges. She picked up on the environmental aspect of the work calling her piece ‘Seas of the world are a photographer’s concern’. It was terrific to read it.

other wunderwalls

The bucket was on the move

The bucket was on the move

The giraffe travelled in a backpack

The giraffe travelled in a backpack

There are too many things in the cupboard

There are too many things in the cupboard