Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser, V&A
May 22 - December 31
In a landmark exhibition, the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) is showing Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser from May to December to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the release Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There in 1871.
The exhibition allows visitors to go on an immersive journey down the famous rabbit hall and see how the story of Alice in Wonderland has been portrayed since Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1865.
With more than 300 objects in five thematic Alice worlds, covering fashion, film, art, performance, photography and music, Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser will consider the vast impact the story has had on artists from Salvador Dalí to Vivienne Westwood.
It is also the first time the V&A has entered the world of Virtual Reality, through a partnership with HTC VIVE Arts commissioning new artwork from the Icelandic artist Kristjana S. William.
Kate Bailey, Senior Curator of Theatre and Performance at the V&A, says: “With our world-class collections of art, design and performance, and founding mission to inspire the next generation, the V&A is the perfect place for an exhibition on the cultural impact of Alice in Wonderland across artistic disciplines.
“Alice encourages us all to question, to learn, to explore and to dream – discovering why she’s an endless source of inspiration for some of the world’s most creative minds has been an extraordinary adventure, even taking the museum into a new dimension of Virtual Reality for the first time.
“We look forward to welcoming visitors of all ages into Alice’s magical and mind-bending Wonderland, to imagine their own world on the other side of the Looking Glass.”
Highlights of Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser
Highlights of the exhibition include: Lewis Carroll’s handwritten manuscript, Royal Opera House stage costumes, and illustrations by John Tenniel, Ralph Steadman and Mary Blair for Walt Disney’s iconic 1951 film adaptation, as well as a Virtual Reality game of croquet.
The exhibition starts in Creating Alice, where you can trace the origins of the ‘real’ Alice in Victorian Oxford.
Filming Alice will consider her screen representations since the first Alice film in 1903, from the surrealist to family favourites, and from Disney to Burton.
Reimaging Alice will consider the character from the viewpoint of the likes of Salvador Dalí, Yayoi Kusama and Max Ernst. While also allowing you to see a life-sized psychedelic Mad Hatter’s tea party.
Staging Alice will consider how the world of music and dance, has treated Alice.
Finally, Being Alice will explore our fascination with the character in popular culture, with fashion collections, photographs of political protests, album artwork for Little Simz and street garments.
After their journey down the rabbit hole, visitors will exit through the looking glass digital art installation and see the familiar story in a totally new light.
Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser Exhibition
Runs 22 May to 31 December, 2021.
Tickets £20 (children under 12 go free, other concessions apply).
Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A)
The Sainsbury Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, Kensington, London, UK, London, UK.
A new V&A publication, Alice: Curioser and Curioser, with interactive illustrations by Kristjana S. Williams and a contribution by Stephen Fry is available to buy (£30) here. Curious Alice – an extended version of the VR experience is also available to download.
Main image: The Rabbit Sends in a Little Bill (c) Kristjana S. Williams from Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Mark Bibby Jackson
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