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The Most In-Depth “Alice in Wonderland” Exhibit Ever Will Debut in London Next Year

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The 1865 fairy tale features an underground fantasy world full of anthropomorphic characters and surrealist symbols.

Photo by Nancy Ayumi Kunihiro/Shutterstock

The 1865 fairy tale features an underground fantasy world full of anthropomorphic characters and surrealist symbols.

Opening in June 2020, the themed exhibition will explore how the fantastical tale inspired global culture and influential creators, including Walt Disney, Salvador Dalí, and Tim Burton.

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When a major exhibit dedicated to Alice in Wonderland opens at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London next summer, the immersive showcase will surely take viewers down a rabbit hole of inspiration and nostalgia.

Dubbed Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the exhibit will chart the evolution of the beloved fairy tale, tracing its origins as an imaginative 1865 novel (by author Lewis Carroll) to its contemporary status as a fixture of the global zeitgeist. On view from June 27, 2020, through January 10, 2021, it will mark the most extensive Alice in Wonderland exhibit ever staged.

The V&A exhibition will include costumes from the 2011 Royal Ballet production of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” which featured former principal dancer Zenaida Yanowsky as the Red Queen.

According to museum organizers, the exhibit will feature a large collection of Alice in Wonderland–related artifacts, such as illustrations by Sir John Tenniel from the original novel, as well as early concept art from Walt Disney’s 1951 film. (Our guess is that Tim Burton’s 2010 big-screen interpretation will also get a nod.) 

However, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland won’t just focus on direct adaptations of the tale. Expanding on the award-winning Wonderland exhibit from the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne, the V&A presentation will push further, exploring the classic tale’s delightfully weird influence spanning visual art, fashion, music, dance, and photography.

Very few details about the 2020 exhibition have been released, but the museum did share that items on display will include costumes from the 2011 Royal Ballet production of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, as well as various artworks by Salvador Dalí, whose surrealist creations were heavily inspired by the overall aesthetic of Wonderland. 

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Tickets for the London exhibition go on sale during spring 2020. 

AFAR will continue to update this piece as further information becomes available.

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