Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Alice in Wonderland Exhibition at the Tate, Liverpool

So, yesterday me Chloe and Philippa went to the Alice in Wonderland exhibition at the Tate gallery in Liverpool. I was so excited about it as I’m a huge Alice in Wonderland fan, I love all the crazy characters and randomness and colours! The exhibition opened on 4th November and is open till 29th January 2012 and it has been 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’. So we go there, paid to get in (got student discount too yay) and walked into a room, which had a few paintings in, and some letter/word lights which were pretty cool. (Unfortunately we couldn't take any photos, but found some on the brilliant Google). There were many pieces of works around, photography, installations, illustrations, paintings and pottery. (Some of which I didn't understand why it had anything to do with Alice in Wonderland.
(Isn't photo from Tate, but you get the picture)

Jason Rhoades- Touch from my madinah in pursuit of my emitage.

Interesting piece was full of words, some coming across as a bit rude but yet funny. Thins such as serpent socket, Brazilian caterpillar, beef curtain and Chloe's favorite, trout basket! This gave the feel that the exhibition was for adults and not for children who are fans of the Disney! Very strange and unusual, an interesting way of expressing feelings or stories. I loved the colours, and how the things were dangling, very Alice and wonderland, especially with the words everywhere! Lovely installation, even with dangling wires everywhere, just gives another strange but nice feel to the piece as a whole.

Annelies Strba: Nyima 483

These dreamlike landscapes are beautiful, the girls are almost like fairies or pixies, they are glowing, standing out from the natural woodland backgrounds. The colours are bold and eye-catching, very playful and imaginative.

After we saw these, the rest of the exhibition was on one of the floors above, thinking it was going to be a fun, interactive environment; I was disappointed as it was a normal exhibition, with pictures hanging with a few descriptions, no bright colours and not much to reflect Alice in Wonderland.

There was a lot of information, a lot about Lewis Carroll, also known as Charles L Dodgson, there was a lot about his life and about the ‘Liddell sisters’ rather than the story of Alice In Wonderland. Some photographs around, by Carroll as well as he was fond of photography. Also sketches scattered around. There were many books with different illustrations for the covers and illustrations inside. Here are some which I thought were interesting.

Deloss McGraw, 2001

Charles Folkard, 1929

Gwynedd M Hudson, 1926

There very varieties of posters for plays, metal printing blocks and a few books we could flick through. One of them being a pop up book by Jotto Seigolds which I thought was brilliant.

There were also things such as tea pots and a deck of cards by Thomas and Greta Schuster which looked very delicate and detailed (which I can not find any picture of :( sorry!)

There was a big section on Surrealism, Surrealists were drawn towards Carroll’s fantastical worlds in which natural laws were suspended and a subjective, apparently random ser of rules applied.

Max Ernst, For Alice’s friends. 1957

The 3 little girls set out for the white butterfly hunt, 1958.

Towards the end of the exhibition, there was a section on Salvador Dali, he did 12 illustrations, one for each page of a story of Alice in Wonderland, 1969.

Very surreal and interesting, he used bright colours and unusual shapes to capture the story. I think he did it brilliantly. Throughout the whole exhibition, on this floor, this one the section that had to most colour and excitement, which is what we were looking and hoping for.

There was also a short animation where Dali collaborated with Walt Disney, the animation was titled Destino .

At the end of the exhibition, there were some random clips from movies showing, a screen with words flicking through and a few other bits which I just did not understand at all, no idea why they were there as they did not represent Alice in Wonderland at all.

Overall the exhibition was disappointing, I was hoping for some fun, colourful Alice type things. It was nice to see some different illustrations of Alice, but the set out was simple, like any other exhibition in any other gallery. I thought after seeing where the story began, I thought it would have moved on to some later illustrations of the story, including the Disney animation and Tim Burton film, but none of this was included. And I don’t think I saw one Cheshire cat though the exhibition.


  1. Hey Becca, I know exhibitions can be a bit disappointing if it's something you have a personal interest in and it doesn't live up to your expectations. If you're looking for a cool Cheshire Cat there's some great wooden sculptures in Llandudno themed around Alice in Wonderland including the tea party, the little door, and of course the cat! The other cool one to look at if you're interested is the illustrations for the original Wizard of Oz stories by Baum. They were really popular at the time!

  2. The real Cheshire Cat which inspired the author lives in Brimstage Hall on the Wirral. It's a plasterwork cornice on the ceiling of one of the rooms. : )