Posted by: chloecivin | December 15, 2011

Tate Liverpool: Alice

As discussed in class, Carroll’s novels have impacted the visual arts in many ways.  Mavor discusses within the introduction  of Pleasure Taken- Performances of Sexuality and Loss in Victorian Photographs, that the novels were her source of inspiration for an art installation:

“featured walls filled with colored-pencils pictures-floors littered with large, painted cut-outs of anthropomorphic animals- and even a miniature house that the viewer could walk into (with some difficulty).  The pinkened walls of the house were lined with Carroll’s photographs of girl-children (framed in gold), which I, like Carroll, had fetishized” (1).

Currently at the Tate Liverpool, there is an exhibition entitled Alice in Wonderland. The exhibition includes Carroll’s own interpretation of the text and other various artists’ works. Some of the other things on display include art that are not “suitable for the eyes of children”.  Would Carroll agree with this? It seems to be that he probably would not advocate for this division as he sees girls more as young women.

In the video,Tateshots: Alice in Wonderland at Tate Liverpool, the main designers of the exhibition explain their attempt in having both an abstract and literal reference to the text.  I especially liked their intention of weaving photography with painting in homage to the text.  Their views concerning mirrors were also quite similar to our discussion.

After watching the film, I was interested in finding some reviews on this seemingly luscious exhibition. Is it as intoxicating as it appears? Adrian Searle of the Guardian offers an interesting take of the exhibition in Mad about the girl: Tate Liverpool’s Alice in Wonderland show.  I especially liked his suggestion of Alice being seen as a religion.

Still, I wanted a youth’s opinion on this exhibit. I found a magical review of the exhibition on youtube, surprisingly enough. Here, a student named Amelia addresses what she may have changed if she headed the exhibit.  Carroll, I presume, would rather hear his youthful fans opinions as opposed to his fellow comrades. Amelia recognizes that placing the objects like any exhibition, takes away from the physicality of the book.  I believe Amelia is right in questioning whether Carroll’s zany books belong in a museum- like setting.  Perhaps this representation conforms the zaniness of the book.  Why couldn’t the artwork be placed beneath obstacles to accentuate the viewer’s experience? Alice herself underwent so much movement, so why couldn’t we?

Mavor and artists alike are all included within the exhibition. Some photographs of the exhibit are seen towards the end of this article: Alice in Wonderland At Tate Liverpool: A Peep Through the Looking-Glass


  1. If anyone is interested in watching the youtube video, just search: Tate Liverpool Alice in Wonderland Exhibition…. it should come up immediately!

  2. The discussion of mirrors in “Tateshots: Alice in Wonderland at Tate Liverpool” video was very relevant to our own classroom analysis. The physical glass and mirrors placed in the exhibition plays with this very idea of reality vs. illusion. Loved it, thanks for sharing!

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