Alice In Wonderland is the first exhibition to comprehensively concentrate on Lewis Carroll\’s classic \”Alice\” books as well as their enormous affect on the world of visual arts from the first publication of Alice\’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1865 to the present day.
From the 25th of February towards the 3rd of June 2012, the visual extravaganza (organized by the Tate Liverpool ?together with the Mart di Rovereto? and also the Hamburger Kunsthalle) will take center stage at the Mart.? Lewis Carroll was an active participant within the artistic scene of his time as both a cutting-edge photographer along with a scholar thinking about art and artists.? He kept company with talent such as the poet and artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the sculptor Alexander Munro, and the artist Sir John Everett Millais.? Paintings by Rossetti and Millais are part of the Mart\’s Alice In Wonderland exhibition along with others by William Holman Hunt and Arthur Hughes about whom Carroll wrote ?in his famous diaries.
The timing of the exhibition is perfect of course since July, 2012 is the 150th anniversary from the first telling from the Alice in Wonderland story to Alice Liddell, Carroll\’s inspiration for Alice.? 2015 will mark the 150th anniversary of Macmillan\’s first publication of Alice\’s Adventures in Wonderland. ?I asked Cristiana Collu, Director from the Mart, the Modern and Contemporary Art Museum of Trento and Rovereto, to talk about her thoughts about the exhibition and just what Alice in Wonderland means to Italians.
What do Lewis Carroll\’s Alice books mean to Italians old and young?
Carroll\’s books are classics and form part of the Western collective imagination. I don\’t know if there is a specifically Italian perception of Alice as character, however i am sure there are numerous versions and translations, all of the which I have heard is A stera ala de sispigru and su chi Alisedda bat agatadu; quite simply, a version in Sardinian (which is the region I originate from myself). The example is an extremely significant one because it uses the storyplot of Alice to revive not only a language which has fallen into neglect but additionally to create neologisms, and lastly to combine the richness of the culture from the place, founded on the intangible heritage of oral transmission, with codified literature. A process of recognition and appropriation is set into motion that says much if not all about the extraordinary strength from the Alice story.
What can visitors to the Mart\’s Alice in Wonderland exhibit expect to discover once they visit?? What\’s going to make the Mart\’s exhibit unique as opposed to the Tate\’s version?
The exhibition is really a world of marvels, just as is the museum, offspring of the wunderkammer (an encyclopedic collection of objects). Within this sense, the marvel isn\’t just that which surprises, astonishes leaving us open-mouthed, but on the contrary that which functions as a veritable detonator of our creativity, our capacity for reaction and problem-solving, our willingness to determine things in a different way and the world from new points of view; when all has been said and done, it calls things into question. Having doubts for Alice is not synonymous with the fragility of her being but with her convenience of growth, for \’muchness\’. Our visitors will discover this \’muchness\’ within the presentation of the exhibition, in the way the exhibition has been laid out, which we\’ve sought to interpret with a precise visual identity akin to the reading of the references made between museum, literary work, works on display, interludes and scores held together with a graphic design that is able to maintain the weight of the whole throughout, without ceasing to lighten it with irony and freshness.
Can you tell us about some of the Italian artists and writers that have been inspired by Lewis Carroll\’s works? ?Are any of these important artists or their works featured within the Mart\’s exhibit?
Carroll\’s tales have enjoyed an exceptional following in Italy too. We could draw up infinite lists of translations, free interpretations, adapted versions for children and freely inspired transpositions (such as the fine one by Gianni Rodari, Alice nelle figure), and those for adults (Aldo Busi\’s version, for instance) and for the film festival in Rome, \”Alice nella citt\” and it is logo, designed by Marti Guix. I believe that Alice is indeed a sort of catch-all, an emblematic metaphor which art and its various forms, from cinema to create, painting to sculpture and video art, make use to \’illustrate\’ the dark and dense part that the girl and her author have represented. Alice in Wonderland, however, does not contemplate works by Italian artists; we shall instead draw some in who\’ll offer their personal vision, taking the suggestions provided by the exhibition in tune or opposition for their style so they may offer us the vision.
Do you believe Italians are aware of the story behind the storyline, i.e. that Alice Liddell was Carroll\’s inspiration for that story and that many of the characters within the book were inspired by her family and her environment?? Is that this something that you believe will be of interest?
The Italian public is thus informed that the exhibition layout, also is chronological, will offer you a series of points enabling many to construct pieces of a puzzle that they already possessed, thus offering a complete and conscious vision from the history and of the world subtending all, along with what occurs behind the curtain. I have no doubt that even these aspects will be of considerable appeal and interest.
What does this exhibit mean for you?? What are a number of your personal favorites in the exhibits?
I prefer the exhibition in general. I loved the work and experienced the crucial part of the development of its identity inside the Mart. Together with my collaborators who have shared this adventure beside me, I am certain that we have created a testimonial in our change, a device that not only translates but implements our vision from the museum as a place of utopias, of possibilities, of the stereoscopic and at the same time timely view; a location in which we feel ourselves to be in \’Wonderland\’, elsewhere and yet at home.
The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto, the Mart, is one of the most important museums in Italy. ? For additional information
Photos thanks to the Alice in Wonderland Exhibition in the Mart, the Modern and Contemporary Art Museum of Trento and Rovereto.
The Alice Community Page
C. M. Rubin is the author of two widely read online series that she received a 2011 Upton Sinclair award, “The worldwide Search for Education” and “How Will We Read?” She is also the author of three bestselling books, including?The Real Alice in Wonderland.
Follow C. M. Rubin on Twitter:?www.twitter.com/@cmrubinworld