Lewis Carroll's 1865 children's novel, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, follows the story of a young girl who follows a white rabbit into a weird alternate universe where she encounters a hodgepodge of quirky characters and anthropomorphic creatures. This fantastical tale captured the imagination of Victorian England, but thereafter it would also have an enduring cultural impact on fashion, cinema, art, and music for over 157 years through endless references, adaptations, and pastiches.
On arriving at the exhibition, visitors will descend into the V&A’s subterranean Sainsbury Gallery through a theatrical rendering of the famous rabbit hole, where a glittering world of art and storytelling awaits. Award-winning set designer Tom Piper, known for his work at the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Opera House, will bring this exhibition to life with smoking caterpillars, a recreation of the Mad Hatter's tea party and flamingo croquet.
Left: 'Cheshire cat', psychedelic poster by Joseph McHugh, published by East Totem West. USA, 1967 (c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Right: Alice at the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, Illustration for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by John Tenniel, 1865 (c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
The exhibition will then trace the rise of Alice as a global phenomenon through 350 exhibits including artworks, film clips, and sculptures. We will learn how the hallucinatory qualities of the plot impacted key cultural movements from the surrealists to the psychedelic musicians of the sixties. We will see Alice herself evolve through the centuries with John Tenniel's original drawings, Walt Disney's technicolour renderings, Salvador Dali's sketches, Ralph Steadman's illustrations, and most-recently, Tim Burton's feature film.
The final section will explore our modern day fascination with Alice. The Being Alice galleries will look at how Lewis Carroll's tale has been appropriated for album covers, Japanese sub-culture fashion, music videos and protest art. Images from Tim Walker's 2018 Pirelli calendar, which reimagined Wonderland with a star-studded all-black cast, will accompany a newly commissioned digital art installation, together images from acclaimed photographer Annie Leibovitz.
The V&A has established itself as a master of blockbuster exhibitions throughout the years, and we've no doubt that this one will be a captivating and wondrous experience for both young and old alike.
Tickets due to go on sale soon. Watch this space...
|What||Alice In Wonderland, V&A|
|Where||V&A, South Kensington, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL | MAP|
|Nearest tube||South Kensington (underground)|
27 Mar 21 – 31 Dec 21, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
|Website||Click here for more information|