If you need another reason to go to London, here it comes. Photographs by the extraordinary fashion photographer Tim Walker are a true feast for the senses. “Wonderful Things”, the exhibition held at the Victoria & Albert Museum, pays homage to the museum’s breathtaking collection and the artist’s penchant for eclecticism. The historic spaces of the V&A provide the one-of-a-kind scenery and, interestingly, had inspired a few of Walker’s latest pieces created specifically for the exhibition.
An underground labyrinth of Victorian corridors, iridescent stained-glass windows, colorful Indian miniature paintings, diamond-studded snuffboxes, erotic illustrations, golden footwear, and the 65-meter long photograph of the Bayeux Tapestry – all these and many more treasures from the limitless collection of the V&A inspired Tim Walker to create monumental photographs featured in “Wonderful Things” – a retrospective exhibition of his work. – I wanted to create photographs that would speak not only about the physical presence and beauty of these objects, but also about my emotional reaction to them. Each photo shoot is a love letter to a given object from the V&A collection and an attempt at capturing my meeting with grandeur – says the photographer. The exhibition, together with Shona Heath’s scenography, is tempting not only to the sight, but to all the other senses that enter the unknown worlds where Walker’s imagination reigns supreme.
The collection of Walker’s photographs is a visual treat, stunningly layered with props, details and light. Thanks to Heath’s intricate scenography, the design of the exhibition successfully captures the moment of fantasy that was never to be re-lived. Yet, we stand, feeling the fantasy happening to us, capturing the impossible, catching lightning in a bottle.
This rich and very intimate exhibition exposes the almost architectural precision behind Walker’s masterpieces. You can experience it literally because one of the rooms features artist’s large-scale notebooks that serve as foundations of his visual storytelling. As escapist as Walker’s message may seem in our troubled times, it gives us the promise of liberation from the seemingly inescapable uncertainty and insecurity – and that’s truly incredible.
Tim Walker, Wonderful Things
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
21 September 2019 - 8 March 2020