Tim Walker is a fashion photographer known for his magical dreamlike photography. The V&A Museum have curated an exhibition, working with Walker himself , in order to showcase his creative process. The V&A describes him as one of the “most creative” photographers and this exhibition clearly shows off his visionary mind taking you on a ride through your dreams and nightmares using new pieces of Walker’s work, the V&A’s own archival pieces and interactive sets.
Walker’s work always feels psychedelic, chaotic and vibrant, one only feels this is a projection of his mind. The exhibit created this feeling from the moment you stepped into a rainbow lit room with the words ‘Wonderful Things’ in a bubble like sign on the wall. However, you are then quickly pushed into an extremely bright, synthetically lit, white room covered in photographs showcasing his work with numerous celebrities from Margot Robbie to Grayson Perry. A room that feels sterile and laboratory like, it’s artificial and not comforting.
This room flows into two different rooms, an almost sub room labelled the ‘Chapel of Nudes’, filled with as you may have guessed, nude photographs. It is designed as though it somebody’s house with an uneasy atmosphere, as if you’d stumbled into the back room you’re not supposed to be filled with somebody’s private and crude possessions and you quickly want to escape.
As you then continue onto the path you feel you were meant to have taken, you’re in a room which is almost like a religious experience. Huge stained glass windows next to devilish like portraits of Grace Jones paired with Eastern art work and ornaments create a spiritual setting, but again with that sense of uneasiness, you feel there’s a sense of evil and mystique about the place all darkly lit. Walker uses V&A’s own pieces and pairs them with his photography, showing his inspiration and also adding to that sense of the creation of another worldly dimension by using historical artefacts from different civilisations and periods. Yet, before you become too consumed with fear you are drawn back into a magical setting with the next room, filled with sparkles and a garish pink living room setting (complete with a TV). It feels comforting yet also dramatic and exciting, a relief from the previous room, it creates a sense of freedom and joy.
This exhibition works to make you feel a wide range of emotions, dealing with stark bleakness, a sense of uneasiness and intrusion and magical transformations. The exhibition space reflects the nature of Walker’s work in his creation of other worldly photographs, they appear colourful, exciting and aesthetically pleasing yet often have a sense of uneasiness or strangeness about them. Walker also ties this mixture of feelings and creativity to the V&A’s collection as a whole which he described as the ‘palace of dreams. Walker also uses fashion within his photography to enhance the dreamlike scenario, using bold colours and obscure silhouettes to create costumes for his characters of this other world.
Tim Walker: Wonderful Things is on at the V&A museum until the 8th March 2020.