Home » Exhibitions » Tim Walker: Wonderful Things at the Victoria and Albert Museum from 21 September 2019 to 8 March 2020

Tim Walker: Wonderful Things at the Victoria and Albert Museum from 21 September 2019 to 8 March 2020

© Tim Walker Studio

The V&A presents the largest-ever exhibition on photographer Tim Walker with over 150 new works inspired by its collection from the 21st September 2019.

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

At the heart of the exhibition are 10 major new photographic projects, directly influenced by treasures in the V&A’s vast collection. Walker visited object stores and conservation studios, meeting many of the museum’s curators, conservators and technicians. He scoured the V&A’s 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 50-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.

The exhibition showcases over 300 items, encompassing photographs and the V&A objects that inspired them, short films, photographic sets and props, scrapbooks and sketches.

© Tim Walker Studio

Heath’s spectacular design guides visitors on a journey through Walker’s world. Text written by Walker adds personal insight and celebrates the talents of the many collaborators who help bring his ideas to life, including stylists and creatives Katy England, Amanda Harlech and Jerry Stafford, and hair and make-up artists Malcolm Edwards, Julien d’Ys, isshehungry and Sam Bryant, among others.

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The exhibition begins with 100 pictures from Walker’s previous projects and extracts from his Super 8 films. Walker first came to prominence in the 1990s with his unique approach to visual storytelling, blurring fantasy and reality to create pictures that can be surreal, lavish, humorous and touching.

These images include some of the biggest names in fashion: models including Edie Campbell, Lily Cole, Karen Elson and Stella Tennant and designers including Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Comme des Garçons and Rick Owens.

The first room of the exhibition displays fashion stories alongside portraits of luminaries such as Sir David Attenborough, Peter Blake and David Hockney, and a constellation of performers including Riz Ahmed, Cate Blanchett, Björk, Timothée Chalamet, Beth Ditto, Daniel Day-Lewis, Claire Foy, Saoirse Ronan and Solange Knowles.

Illuminations, which evokes the interior of a burned-out cathedral. On display are sixteenth-century stained glass panels and an exquisite illuminated manuscript made in the 1470s for the Duchess of Brittany.

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Another room, Pen & Ink, takes the whiplash graphic lines of Aubrey Beardsley’s provocative illustrations from the 1890s as a starting point.

Handle with Care, takes inspiration from the work of the V&A’s textile conservators who care for the museum’s world-leading fashion and textiles collection.

Towards the end of the exhibition, visitors enter a pastel-hued room reminiscent of a grand country house. A film projection flickers within a vast fireplace and the walls are hung with multiple portraits inspired by Edith Sitwell’s clothing and jewellery in the V&A’s collection.

Beyond the exhibition, several of Walker’s film installations appear throughout the museum’s permanent galleries, including the Tapestries Gallery and Norfolk House Music Room.

The exhibition Tim Walker: Wonderful Things runs from 21 September 2019 to 8 March 2020.

For more information and tickets, visit the V & A website here

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