Fantasy is a hugely popular genre in literature, film, TV and also visual art. It can provide a means of escaping everyday life, transporting us to other worlds inhabited by fantastical creatures, where magic exists, and anything is possible.
Inspired by our upcoming family-friendly exhibition Fantasy Kingdom (3 July – 5 September 2021), Fantasy or Reality? presents a selection of artworks and objects from Wolverhampton’s collection which highlight the connections between fantasy and art, inviting you into a world of witches and spirits, knights and dragons, deities and demons.
Much fantasy writing is based on myths, legends and stories from folklore, which are passed down within communities across generations. Artists have also been inspired by these tales, giving rise to a rich visual culture which is as strong today as ever. Some of the works in this display are inspired by the legends of King Arthur and his court at Camelot. They look back nostalgically at an imagined past where gallant knights did battle with fearsome dragons.
Many folkloric tales relate closely to the power of nature, and other works here introduce us to forest spirits dwelling in hidden groves, stone circles thought to have been raised by giants and sea monsters lurking beneath the crashing waves.
We are also introduced to deities and spirits which feature in mythologies from around the world, each thought to govern different aspects of the natural world and able to interfere in the lives of mortals as they please.