Fans of Alice in Wonderland are in for a royal treat next year, as the V&A‘s landmark exhibition for 2020 will celebrate one of the most iconic, imaginative and inspiring stories of all time.
Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser will be an immersive and mind-bending journey down the rabbit hole; a fantastical exhibition that will explore the story’s origins, adaptations and reinventions over 158 years, charting its evolution from manuscript to a global phenomenon beloved by all ages.
Through over 300 objects spanning film, performance, fashion, art, music and photography, the V&A will be the first museum to fully explore the cultural impact of Alice and her ongoing inspiration for leading creatives, from Salvador Dalí and The Beatles to Little Simz and Thom Browne.
Highlights include Lewis Carroll’s original handwritten manuscript, illustrations by John Tenniel, Ralph Steadman and Disney, stage costumes, fashion from Iris van Herpen and photography from Tim Walker and Annie Leibovitz.
Even better, there’ll be theatrical sets, large-scale digital projections and immersive areas, where you can journey through the enchanting and extraordinary world of Wonderland, through Alice’s eyes. Designed by award-winning designer Tom Piper – best known for his stage designs for the Royal Shakespeare Company and Royal Opera House as well as his Tower of London poppies installation – the exhibition will reward us with secret doors and interactive displays.
Beginning with a descent into the V&A’s subterranean Sainsbury Gallery via a theatrical interpretation of the story’s famous rabbit hole, the show will immediately transport you into an otherworldly experience. The first section, Creating Alice, will trace Alice in Wonderland’s origins in Victorian Oxford. Uncovering the people, the politics and the places that inspired Lewis Carroll, the exhibition will introduce visitors to the “real” Alice and her family.
Kate Bailey, senior curator of Theatre and Performance at the V&A, said: “Alice encourages us all to question, to learn, to explore, and to dream – discovering why she’s an endless source of inspiration for some of the world’s most creative minds has been an extraordinary adventure.”
Since the publication of the original manuscript of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1865, the books have never been out of print and remain one of the most influential texts in the world.
One of the most ambitious exhibitions ever staged by the V&A, Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser is definitely one for your calendar next year. It launches on 27 June 2020 and runs until 10 January 2021. Find out more and book tickets at vam.ac.uk.
Original drawing for Alice in Wonderland of the White Rabbit, 1967 © Ralph Steadman Art Collection, 2019. All rights reserved.
Photograph of the ‘real’ Alice Liddell, by Julia Margaret Cameron, ‘Pomona’, albumen print, 1872 (c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by Dorothea Tanning, 1943. ©-ADAGP,-Paris-and- DACS,-London-2019
‘Cheshire cat’, psychedelic poster by Joseph McHugh, published by East Totem West. USA, 1967 (c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Print by Peter Blake from a suite illustrating ‘Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There’. 1970. © Peter Blake. All rights reserved, DACS 2019
Salvador Dali, A Mad Tea Party, 1969, © Salvador Dali, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, DACS 2019. Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Lynne B. and Roy G. Sheldon, 1999.183.12_2