In Pictures: Magic and mystery as new Tate Liverpool show Alice in Wonderland opens...
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson - aka Lewis Caroll - only intended Alice's Adventures Under Ground to be a private Christmas present when he first produced the 90-page book, published in its final version in 1865 under the enduring title of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
© University of Exeter
Alice Pleasance Liddell was the literal incarnation of Alice and the inspiration for Dodgson more than 150 years ago, but other versions are everywhere here: pop, psychedelic and surreal art, language, meaning, smutty euphemisms and much more feature in a show which has taken three years to put together.
The attraction for the Surrealists is obvious, sharing an infatuation with the morphing of the apparently mundane into the magical underworlds of rabbits and mad hatters we are all so familiar with. Max Ernst and Salvador Dali are among those shown, as well as a group who dubbed themselves The Children of Alice.
© The Museum of Modern Art, New York/Scala, Florence. 2011
Dodgson's legacy, the show partially implies, is as much an evolving one of creativity fired by his original idea as it is about the ever-popular story itself.
The original manuscript, given to the 12-year-old Liddell as a Christmas present in 1864, acts as the starting point for the escapade, complete with Dodgson's own illustrations and those crafted by Sir John Tenniel in the first published edition. Images were always an integral part of the story.
© ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2010
Contemporary works form the finale for the show in a conclusion aimed at underlining the continuing influence of Alice. Anna Gaskell, Annelies Štrba and Dan Graham are among the artists. "I am most curious how the visitors will like what we have done," quips guest curator Christoph Benjamin Schulz.
© Fredericks & Freiser, New York
- Alice in Wonderland opens at Tate Liverpool today (November 4 2011) until January 29 2012. Open 10am-5pm (except December 24-26), admission £5.40-£8. Book online.