Guests will embark upon a multi-sensory experience profiling the journey of Alice In Wonderland since we first met the character in 1865…
By Layla Turner
We first met Alice in 1865 in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland. Over 150 years later, the book has seen countless reinventions, including Walt Disney’s 1951 film adaptation as well as Tim Burton’s 2010 dark-fantasy esque portrayal.
The V&A’s exhibition, taking place in the Sainsbury Gallery, is set to be their ‘most ambitious yet’, aiming to ‘inspire visitors to conjure their own ideas of wonderland’. Originally set to open in 2020, there has been a huge amount of anticipation surrounding the event.
The exhibition will be made up of over 300 objects and five sections: Creating Alice, Filming Alice, Reimagining Alice, Staging Alice and finally, Being Alice. Each ‘Alice-inspired world’ will explore key themes relating to the title including film, performance, fashion, music, art and photography. Creating Alice will transport visitors right back to the origins of the story, exploring Victorian London and the people, politics and places that inspired the character.
Fashion lovers will be able to marvel at fashion collections inspired by the character, from Iris Van Herpen and Viktor & Rolf, while the 2018 Pirelli Calendar – which has been described as ‘chaotic – in the best possible way’ – will also feature in the exhibit.
Reimagining Alice is set to be a particularly eclectic part of the collection, celebrating the surrealist works of Salvador Dali and featuring a life-sized Mad Hatter’s tea party, bought to life with psychedelic and playful digital projections.
The exhibition will also be the first ever by the V&A to offer a virtual reality experience, inviting guests to the Queen of Hearts’ croquet ground for a Curious Game Of Croquet. The experience was produced by immersive games studio Preloaded and will of course offer fun for all the family.
The final section of the exhibition, Being Alice, will explore the ‘the modern-day fascination and reinvention of Alice In Wonderland across art, science and popular culture. The Being Alice section of the exhibit will feature photos from political protests, album artwork for British rapper Little Simz and inspired street wear garments. Being Alice will demonstrate the varied interpretations of Alice In Wonderland through the ages.
Finally, guests will be invited to leave through the looking glass. The exhibition will end on a ‘through the looking glass-inspired’ digital art exhibition, set to be a huge hit with art lovers.
2021 marks the books 150th anniversary, and there has been countless reinventions of the story over the years. Through all adaptations of Alice In Wonderland, the main themes have been apparent: Identity, coming of age and absurdity. The story depicts a young girl ‘falling through the looking glass’ into a crazy and colourful world – think talking rabbits and magic potions. Living in London in the current day can sometimes be a stressful and tiresome experience and many of us are guilty of taking life too seriously. Sometimes we need to slow down and take a second to enjoy life and all its absurdities. The V&A invites you to explore a different world for a day. Kate Bailey, Senior Curator of Theatre and Performance at the V&A, sai: ‘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’.
Victoria and Albert Museum. Tickets £20. Children go free.
Cromwell Rd, SW7 2RL
Like this? Check out more ‘What’s On’ here…
Image Credit: Alice Curiouser and Curiouser, May 2021, Installation Image (c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London (25).