Better late than never
When the world shuttered because of the coronavirus pandemic, the V&A’s flagship Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser exhibition about one of the most famous stories of all time, which was originally scheduled for last year, had to be postponed. It’s now open in all its technicolour glory though, and even the White Rabbit will admit this was worth the wait.
Designed by award-winning designer Tom Piper – best known for his stage designs for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the V&A as well as his Tower of London poppies installation – it takes visitors down the rabbit hole through a series of theatrical sets, immersive environments and a special virtual reality croquet experience – the first offered by a V&A exhibition.
Through more than 300 objects, including author Lewis Carroll’s handwritten manuscript, across five Alice-inspired worlds arranged thematically – spanning film, performance, fashion, art, music and photography – the V&A is the first museum to fully explore the cultural impact of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Charting the book’s evolution from manuscript to a global phenomenon, it explores its origins, adaptations and reinventions over 158 years since it was first published. It also highlights how it has influenced some of the world’s most famous creatives including Salvador Dalí, Yayoi Kusama, The Beatles, Vivienne Westwood and Little Simz.
Kate Bailey, senior curator of theatre and performance at the V&A, said: “With our world-class collections of art, design and performance and founding mission to inspire the next generation, the V&A is the perfect place for an exhibition on the cultural impact of Alice in Wonderland across artistic disciplines. 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, even taking the museum into a new dimension of virtual reality for the first time. We look forward to welcoming visitors of all ages into Alice’s magical and mind-bending Wonderland, to imagine their own world on the other side of the Looking Glass.”
With travel plans still pretty uncertain, this is one adventure you won’t have to miss this summer.
Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser is open now until 31 December 2021. Visit vam.ac.uk/alice for more information and tickets.