Tim Walker’s V&A Exhibition Will Be His Biggest Yet

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Photography by Tim Walker, Styling by Katie Shillingford

Tim Walker: Wonderful Things, the largest exhibition of the photographer’s work yet, will arrive at the museum this September

Today, the V&A has announced its upcoming exhibition Tim Walker: Wonderful Things. Arriving at the London museum this September, it will be the biggest-ever exhibition of the British photographer’s work, featuring over 150 images inspired by the V&A’s permanent collection. Known for his fantastical photography, the exhibition will encompass 100 existing images, ten new photographic projects, props, Super 8 film and rare artefacts from the V&A archive, which Walker has drawn from in the process of creating the show. Spectacular sets by Shona Heath will reflect the photographer’s work in rooms designed to resemble pastel-coloured country houses, burned-out cathedrals or a stark white photography studios.

“To me, the V&A has always been a palace of dreams – it’s the most inspiring place in the world,” Walker said in a statement this morning. “The museum’s collection is so wide and eclectic, and I think that’s why it resonates with me so much. Many of the objects that I saw during my research at the museum made my heart swell, I wanted to try to create a photograph that would relate not only to the physical presence and beauty of that object, but also to my emotional reaction to it.”

Some of the new shoots – each themed around a particular object from the V&A’s archive, from Edith Sitwell’s clothing and jewellery to Aubrey Beardsley’s provocative 1890s line drawings – will include familiar faces, from model Karen Elson to former AnOther cover star, Tilda Swinton. “Each new shoot is a love letter to an object from the V&A collection, and an attempt to capture my encounter with the sublime,” Walker explained. “For me, beauty is everything. I’m interested in breaking down the boundaries that society has created, to enable more varied types of beauty and the wonderful diversity of humanity to be celebrated. Preparing for this exhibition over the past three years has pushed me into new territories, which is very exciting, and I’m at a stage in my life where I feel brave enough to do that.”

Contributions from the many stylists, hair stylists and make-up artists Walker has collaborated with will be celebrated throughout, including Julien d’Ys, Amanda Harlech and AnOther’s senior fashion editor-at-large Katy England. Walker has previously shot Rooney Mara for the cover of the A/W17 issue of AnOther alongside fashion director Katie Shillingford, and the cover of Another Man A/W18 with England.

“Tim has a wildly inquisitive mind and a boundless energy, he never stops innovating and these new pictures are some of the most spectacular he has ever made,” said Susanna Brown, Curator of Photographs at the V&A earlier today. “Tim’s photographs and Shona’s exhibition design combine to create a show that I think our visitors will adore. The book which accompanies the exhibition reveals more about his complex process and includes fascinating interviews with Tim and twenty of his closest collaborators.”

Tim Walker: Wonderful Things is on at the V&A from September 21, 2019 – March 8, 2020.