At the heart of the exhibition are ten new photographic series that are directly influenced by the treasures in the V&A’s huge collection. The wide-ranging and eclectic collection of this museum for art and design is a source of inspiration for Walker. Together with curators, conservators and technicians he roamed the impressive galleries, depots, and hidden nooks and crannies of the museum in search of objects to spark his imagination. 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 objects inspired Walker’s monumental photographs in the exhibition.
Important themes in Tim Walker’s work are nostalgic childhood memories and his love of nature, while subjects like identity and emotions are central to the exhibition as well. Walker wants to embrace diversity with his work.
‘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.’
Spectacular exhibition design
MAISON the FAUX are responsible for the design of Wonderful Things at the Kunsthal. As their point of departure they have taken the spectacular design that British set designer and creative Shona Heath – Tim Walker’s long-term collaborator – made for the exhibition of the same name at the V&A.
Tim Walker was born in England in 1970. At the age of 18 he started working at the library of the media company Condé Nast. There he encounters the work of the English photographer and costume designer Cecil Beaton and his interest in photography began.
Tim Walker studied photography at Exeter College of Art. After graduating he worked as a freelance photographic assistant in London and subsequently moved to New York City where he became full-time assistant to the renowned fashion photographer Richard Avedon. Aged only 25, Tim Walker shot his first big assignment for Vogue. This was the start of his career as a fashion photographer and he has since been photographing for the British, Italian, and American editions of Vogue, as well as for leading fashion and style titles such as W, i-D, AnOther, and LOVE Magazine. Just like Cecil Beaton, Tim Walker photographs his models in theatrical settings. His work is characterized by a rich imaginative creativity and filled with fairytale references. The fact that Tim Walker finds inspiration in Surrealism and Romanticism is reflected in his choice of themes such as childhood, nature, or emotions, and his praise of the individual. Walker’s talent enables him to draw the spectator into his elaborately crafted dreamworlds.
In recent years, Walker has embraced moving film. His first short film, The Lost Explorer, premiered at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland and went on to win Best Short Film at the Chicago United Film Festival in 2011. Walker’s acclaimed publications include Pictures (2008), Story Teller (2012), The Granny Alphabet (2013, in collaboration with Lawrence Mynott and Kit Hesketh-Harvey), and The Garden of Earthly Delights (2017). He received the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator from The British Fashion Council in 2008 and the Infinity Award from The International Center of Photography in 2009. In 2012, Walker received an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal Photographic Society.
The English-language catalogue ‘Wonderful Things’ will accomany the exhibition. The book is a journey through the creative mind of Tim Walker. The 192-page catalogue is available for €32,95 at the Kunsthal Shop (ISBN 978 18517 79710).