Tim Walker: Story Teller
Somerset House, East Wing Galleries
18 October 2012 - 27 January 2013
Much like Tim Walker's photography, the current exhibition at Somerset House envelops and captivates its audience. It’s not only an exhibition of Walker's photography, but also an experience of the worlds he creates, built out of elaborate wall text, props, and even some sand, all arranged to contextualise his photographs and film. The wall text, which often twists along the wall or literally round a corner, is a narrative of its own, clearly presenting a picture of Walker as an artist of enchanted tales.
This complex maze of rooms and props position Walker as a storyteller, as the title aptly suggests, who uses photographs as his means of sharing narratives. In one of the last rooms a giant doll looms over viewers beside the photograph in which it’s pictured kicking fashion model Lindsey Wixson down a grassy hill. In the first room, a large model propeller plane fills the space while photographs featuring the plane line the walls around it, drawing the viewer into the images and emphasising the scale within them.
However, the show does raise the question of whether such an elaborate construction actually enhances the photography or takes away from it. Wandering through the exhibition, I was never quite sure on what part of the room I was meant to focus. Was this a photography exhibition or a fun-house installation? Curatorial questions aside, the exhibition did capture the surreal nature of Walker's work. Building these stories out of movies, folklore, and other elements of popular culture, Walker’s photographs construct fairytales that incorporate fashion and design into this surreal dream world.
The exhibition is supported by Mulberry and accompanied by the new publication Story Teller by Tim Walker published by Thames & Hudson. Walker has collaborated with SHOWstudio on a number of projects including The Right Eye and The Fashion Body, and has participated in an In Fashion interview which explores the intersection of fashion and contemporary art.
Reported by Megan N Liberty