Ten major new photographic projects, directly influenced by treasures in the V&A's vast collection, sit centre stage in a series of immersive, fantastical worlds.
In preparation for this exhibition, photographer Tim Walker visited the V&A's object stores and conservation studios, meeting many of the museum's curators, conservators and technicians. He scoured the 145 public galleries, scaled the roof of the 12-acre South Kensington site, and explored the labyrinth of Victorian passages below ground level. Along the way, he encountered luminous stained-glass windows, vivid Indian miniature paintings, jewelled snuffboxes, erotic illustrations, golden shoes, and a 65-metre-long photograph of the Bayeux Tapestry, the largest photograph in the museum's collection. These and many other rare artefacts have inspired Walker's monumental new photographs, and feature in the exhibition designed by leading British creative, Shona Heath.
A bewitching ode to art, artefact and fashion... Instead of stepping into a familiar world, one steps directly into the photographs themselves.
The sheer joy of walking around the show – rather than looking at the images in a catalogue – is thanks to Walker's long-term collaborator, set designer Shona Heath. The world of the photos explodes into the gallery, moving from medieval church to shag-piled domesticity to bourgeois manor and so on.
The star of this show is Walker's imagination. His message: in a world of uncertainty, the ability to escape it all is a truly wonderful thing.
Walker's images are a visual feast, richly layered with props, clues, details and tricks of light all designed to capture a moment of pure fantasy that can never be recreated, yet thanks to Heath's elaborate exhibition design one almost feels as if one is there. Like catching lightning in a bottle.
Stepping into the Wonderful Things exhibition feels like opening up a trap door and climbing into the wild and wonderful mind of fashion photographer Tim Walker.
tim walker’s new exhibition proves he’s still the master of magical realism
Magical, wonderful this show is a total escape from reality - go lose yourself for an hour or so. It's a pure tonic to an often grey world.