Somerset House seems to be the place to be this Autumn/Winter season. I revisited the Lucian Freud etchings show at the Courtauld, (see previous post below), and ventured across the courtyard where I was equally impressed with both the Tim Walker and Paul Benney shows also currently running there.
I became familiar with Tim Walkers work from the beautiful, surreal photo shoots that he creates for both Vogue and Harpers. He creates his own whimsical vision of the world which borrows from fairytales, and Surrealism. The outsized props and models created for the shoots are fantastic, and many of the most familiar from his photographs are included in this exhibition.
The unusual props combined with the strikingly made up models, and beautiful haute-couture creations of the various fashion houses creates a strange, magical narrative for his images. This exhibition is visually one of the best I have visited as it is beautifully designed and curated. Definately one for you if you love photography, fashion or model-making.
Also on display at Somerset House are the Association of Illustrators annual Images exhibition, and underneath the courtyard can be seen Night Paintings by Paul Benney, many of whose images also owe a debt to Surrealism.
Just as impressive as the paintings is the exhibition space, which are the hidden passageways that run like a labyrinth under the courtyard which are not normally accessible to the public.
It is like being in a crypt as there are some old tombstones mounted into the walls and water dripping from pipes which adds to the dark/moody atmosphere of Benney's paintings. Highly recommended.