The Alice in Wonderland exhibition currently showing at the Tate gallery in Liverpool opened on 4th November and is due to run until 29th January 2012 and is described by the Tate as the ‘first comprehensive exploration of the stories’ influence on the visual arts. His stories are rich in logical, philosophical and linguistic puzzles – reflecting their author’s fascination with language and with questions of meaning’.
I arrived with certain expectations from this particular exhibition with it featuring works based on one of the world’s most well loved childhood stories, a 10% student discount certainly impressed me! (and that was on top of the already reduced price for concessions!)
It started out on the ground floor then led up to the 4th (the elevator saved my little tootsies J), behind the curtain however my excitement soon became frustration. To the right were some photographs printed onto canvas by Annelies Strba and to the left a neon light typography installation by Jason Rhoades created in 2004, words illuminated included ‘Brazilian caterpillar’, ‘beef curtain, ‘trout basket’ and ‘serpent socket’. The layout here was rather sparse, completely not reflective of the zaney, out-there story it was meant to be representing. The canvases hung on bare walls although the brightness of the neon light installation did brighten the atmosphere it was only briefly.
Up on the fourth floor there was much more information to sift through, a tiny breakthrough at least. Although as I walked around I did begin to notice that the information was more on Lewis Carol, formally know as Charles L Dodgson and his life, than
Later in the exhibition Adrian Piper’s LSD paintings feature as does a porn referenced wall of type, I understand the inclusion of drug related artwork –
Salvador Dali featured towards the end of the display with the inclusion of his illustrations and a short animation on which he collaborated with Walt Disney titled Destino, 1946. Dali later goes on to explain that the girl in the animation is
The layout of the exhibition was disappointing as the subject matter holds such potential for a fun, tactile and engaging environment. I imagined more installations, pointers to the Mad Hatter’s tea party and a dark tunnel to reference the rabbit hole. It was not reflective of the story it is meant to be representing. Instead what we discovered was a very formal, very quiet on the verge of very boring exhibition that could be found in any other gallery, it was standard but nothing more.