Tuesday, January 17

Alice

This morning I took the no.6 bus into Liverpool to visit the Tate Gallery... by the Albert Docks.
The Alice in Wonderland Exhibition finishes by the end of January and I still hadn't seen it.

 "which bottle shall I drink from?"

There was a time when the potter worked for a small company making "Alice" ceramics...
...in between teaching and the studio here at The Potters House.

Anyway, Rev. Charles Dodgson was born in the south of Warrington in a village called Daresbury.
So it would have been a shame not to see it and as the bus is free...so far!.....
..and I'm a member of Tate...it was a good day out and not much to spend.
So much to see and so much information as the whole of the 4th floor was taken over by the books and the people that the stories influenced.
That was quite a surprise!
 This is a list of some of the artists, writers and film makers influenced.
The Preraphaelite Brothers and in particular, Holman Hunt and Rossetti, Mervyn Peake, Marie Laurencin, Ralph Steadman, Sir John Tenniel, Arthur Rackman, Nabokov, Voysey, Millais, Dorothea Tanning, Max Ernst, Leonora Carrington, Kokoschka, Roland Penrose, S. Dali, Paul Nash, F.E.McWilliams, Peter Blake,  Kiki Smith, Allen Roppersberg, Nalini Malani, Magritte oh and perhaps...weirdest of all...Walt Disney!
He had such a strong influence on the Parisian Surrealists who made him their own and encouraged the English artists, such as Nash, to recognize what this fellow Englishman had produced.
Disney went into partnership with Salvador Dali, and together they produced , what for me was the most surreal work in the whole show. The fairy..like music of Disney and the ever evolving surreal movements of Dali...including his love of insects et al.
The books have been illustrated by so many artists in so many different countries, and so many different styles.
Sir JohnTenniel of course...but to see the earliest drawings by Dodgson himself in the small, original hand written book presented to Alice Liddell, gave me an insight into what he was thinking of as the story unfolded.
Of the others, Arthur Rackman had to be one of my favourites and Ralph Steadman would come a close second.
But the influence goes on in the 21st c. A work by the American artist, Kiki Smith takes from the story of Alice through the Looking Glass....."swimming in a pool of her own tears". (that's the card at the bottom of the photo).  And most interesting... an installation called,"The Neverending Book 2007" by Allen Roppersberg inviting people to take 5 pages out of boxes containing print-outs from pages in books in his own library, and from these either make a story or write a poem. I'll have a go and if I think there is any good in it I'll put it up one day!
This is a piece by  Max Ernst using the meaninglessness of Alice and Dodgson's writing ....
"At the junction of two signs
One for a school of herrings
And the other for a school of crystals
33 little girls set out for the
White butterfly hunt
The blind dance in the night
Princes sleep badly
And the black crow is to speak"

Well I can't make sense of it...but I like it!
Not much different I suppose from..."Will you walk a little faster...."



The white rabbit in the middle is Charles Dodgson's own drawing!

3 comments:

  1. How exciting !
    I am a total Charles Dodgson fan, his works fascinate me.
    Last time I was at the Royal Albert Docks, I took my granddaughter to see the Beatles Exhibition, quite the show.
    Warrington has the sculpture of Alice and the Madhatter's Teaparty in Golden Square, I always eat a custard or two whilst sitting there :)
    Such a lovely post, and I tried to leave a comment on the hare posting but never could, they are spectacular, what detail !!
    ~Jo

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  2. Tenniel's illustrations are (for me) the best. A while back I came across a modern edition with the worst illustrations imaginable; I felt so sorry for any child who knew no better.

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  3. mmm...curiouser and curiouser!

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