V&A's Alice in Wonderland exhibition will include a 'rabbit hole'

A very important date! V&A’s 2020 Alice In Wonderland exhibition will show how the story inspired Dali, Disney and The Beatles (and visitors will enter through a rabbit hole)

  • Alice, Curious and Curiouser will debut in June 2020 at London’s V&A Museum 
  • Larger than life exhibition includes a rabbit hole leading to subterranean gallery
  • The surreal set is designed by The Royal Shakespeare Gallery’s Peter Piper  
  • Includes interactive installations, and works from Salvador Dalí and The Beatles

An upcoming major exhibition at the V&A will reveal Alice In Wonderland’s impact on popular culture, inspiring Dali, Disney and The Beatles to name a few. 

Alice, Curious and Curiouser, which will open on 27 June 2020, will take place at the Sainsbury’s gallery, and will start with a rabbit hole to immerse visitors into the classic topsy-turvy tale by Lewis Carroll. 

The exhibition will explore how the story of Alice has inspired fashion, art, music, film and more throughout the last 158 years, through works of art by several renowned artists and modern digital installations.

Bridging fiction and the psychedelic, the exhibition promises a ‘mind-bending’ Mad Hatter tea party installation through digital projection, as well as a game of Flamingo croquet. 

It will include secret doors for the most curious and ingenious of visitors and interactive displays to plunge them further into Alice’s world. 

Works from surrealist painter Salvador Dalí, fashion from Viktor&Rolf, and music from The Beatles will feature throughout the exhibition’s five main sections.   

Alice, Curious and Curiouser will debut on 27 June 2020 at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Pictured: Welsh illustrator Ralph Steadman’s take on the White Rabbit as a harassed commuter, published in 1967 

A photograph of the “real” Alice, Alice Liddell, by Julia Margaret Cameron, from 1872. The photograph is included in the first section of the upcoming exhibition 

No medium will be left out, with 300 objects featured, spanning photography, paintings, fashion, art, movies, music and performance. 

Created by set designer Tom Piper of the Royal Shakespeare company and Royal Opera House, the exhibition will lead visitors of all ages through Alice’s eyes. 

The exhibition will be divided into five sections, from the origins of the characters in Victorian Oxford to its countless adaptions. 

After starting by going down the rabbit hole, visitors will exit the exhibition through the looking glass before entering the first section, Creating Alice. 

The exhibition includes this psychedelic re-interpretation of the Cheshire Cat by Joseph McHugh published in 1967

This 1513 portrait of an Old Woman by Quinten Massys, known as the Ugly Duchess, was the inspiration for the Duchess in Alice in Wonderland 

It will take visitors through the story of the real Alice and her family, as well as Carroll’s contemporaries and work of arts said to have inspired the stories and its characters. 

A portrait of the ‘real-life’ Alice Liddell, who inspired the main character of the story, will also feature. 

The exhibition will include Lewis Carroll’s original manuscript, as well as a 1513 portrait of an Old Woman by Quinten Massys, known as the Ugly Duchess, which served as the inspiration for the Duchess in Alice in Wonderland. 

A print by Peter Blake illustrating Alice Through the Looking Glass and what she found there. Visitors will exit the exhibition through a looking glass 

Visitors will then move on to Filming Alice, which will retrace the film adaptations of the novel, starting with its earlier screen adaptation, released in 1903. 

It will includes clips from the movies, as well as set designs, scripts and costumes to explore how Alice went from a surrealist tale to a family’s favourite. 

The concept art for Alice in Wonderland’s 1951 Disney adaptation will take centre stage, alongside Tim Burton’s 2011 blockbuster starring Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter and Mia Wasikowska as Alice.  

Remaining Alice, the exhibition’s third section, will focus on the reinvention of Alice through art. It will include a painting from surrealist giant Salvador Dalí as well as music from the Beatles. 

The 1951 Disney Adaptation of Alice in Wonderland will take center stage in the section dedication to how Alice spread from books to screens 

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by Dorothea Tanning, from 1943. Her work was inspired by the words of Lewis Carroll 

Staging Alice will look into how performance arts made Alice their own. Costumes from international productions in Switzerland and Russia will feature alongside the National Theatre’s wonder.land 

Bob Crowley’s larger than life costume for the Queen of Hearts from the Royal Ballet’s 2011 production will also be featured. 

Finally, the last section of the event will look into modern day fascination with Alice through the works of Gwen Stefani, P. Diddy, Annie Leibovitz and more. 

It will explore how Alice imagery spread through protest art, photography and fashion. 

It will also look into how important themes from Alice in Wonderland have remained to this day. 

A surrealist painting from Salvatore Dali. The exhibition links psychedelic and surrealist re-inventions of Wonderland through works of art

Alice, Curious and Curiouser will look into how Lewis Carroll’s work inspired fashion to this day. Picture: a Viktor&Rolf haute couture runway inspired by the Mad Hatter 

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,’ she added.  

‘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.’ 

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