Wonderland is a small exhibition, hosted by the O3 gallery, featuring work from 8 different female artists, all inspired by the Alice in Wonderland books. Timed to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the story’s first telling, this is a sweet and fascinating look at society's ongoing enchantment with young female fantasy as imagined by Carroll.
There is a lot of variety in the pieces chosen, from collage work through colourful abstracts to straightforward figurative work. Of all the pieces, my favourite is the tiny and macabre mixed media collage Childfriend #61 by Catherine Hiley. The use of collage is perfect for themes of childhood imagination – you can only tell what’s real and what isn’t when you’re looking really closely. Katarzyna Widmanska’s images of a vintagey, grown up Alice are another favourite. The aesthetic is at once lush, inviting and slightly threatening.
There is a strong theme of sadness and loss running through many of the pieces. The centrepiece of the exhibition is a scattering of toys and games. There is something very evocative and very melancholy about so many playthings arranged like that, with no one to play with them.
The curating is lovely – the pieces, even the ones I didn’t warm to so much, all complement each other well and make sense as a whole. The gallery is beautiful, the soundtrack thoughtful and the merchandise worth the trip alone (A cake stand! Made of old vinyl records! Amazing!). All in all, this is a lovely exhibition, carefully and delicately done. A must for any fans of Alice, and well worth a look for anyone at all.