Alice in process…

Instead of the question “Who is Alice?” there are now paths leading to what Alice might come to be…

28 Jul 2017

Alicedelic Collages: Pictures in Conversation - introduction

Adriana Peliano 

How puzzling all these changes are! 
 I’m never sure what I’m going to be, from one minute to another. 

"Alice was raised on a ship of dreams, in a liquid looking-glass, following the currents of desire, imagination, and curiosity. She was born on a river, with its movements and mirror reflections, following the flow of waters and free associations.

The great paradox running through Alice’s adventures, according to Gilles Deleuze, is the loss of her own name, her infinite identity, her eternal becoming. When the caterpillar asks, Who are you? Alice does not know the answer. I know who I was . . . but I think I must have been changed several times since then. The child, born in the River of Heraclitus, learns that transformation is the only constant.

When Alice says that she only knows who she was, it implies that we are also in transformation. And when she was drawn by Sir John Tenniel, a tradition followed. But she is no longer the Victorian Alice, instead she is a living kaleidoscope of all of the possibilities and probabilities. How many artists were driven by the need to overcome the stereotypical imagery, and by the quest for new adventures in expression?

Since the beginning of the last century, each decade, through its different visions, perspectives, styles inventions and magic formulas, created their own Alices. She is, by turns, a sweet and naive girl, a questioning feminist, a perverted child, a mad and bloody serial killer, a drugged adult, a seeker of worlds beyond conscious rainbow, a delirious psychedelicist, a philosophical curiouser-ist, or a shielded warrior, always multiple and mutating. Alice is all of them and none of them, and she opens herself up like the largest kaleidoscope ever seen. Good-bye, feet! 

As the twentieth century progressed, the concept of illustration underwent profound transformations, in dialogue with radical changes happening in all the visual arts. Among other strategies, artists broke down the barriers between the outside world and the experiences of the mind, questioning the idea of a literal and linear approach to illustration, discovering new relationships between texts and pictures. Rather than repeat, they started to provoke and transgress. The present time is filled with paradox and experimentation. Intertextual readings, metalanguage, multiple assemblies, nonlinear narratives, metamorphosis, looking glass monsters. At the end of last century, Alice’s looking-glass shattered into a million pieces, spreading within the collective imagination new meta-Alices in a nonsensical, magical hourglass of alicinations.

In the twentieth century, the Tenniel and Disney canons became source material for metalanguage and intertextuality. With the advent of the digital age, the visual universe of Alice suffered a great impact and a renewal. Collages and manipulations, mixtures of photos, drawings, and digital paintings were some features that would guide new illustrators. But in a forest of symbols overpopulated by software, filters and image banks, in the lack of critical awareness and genuine imagination, collage can quickly deplete into a mechanical, impoverished, decorative uglification game.

In my adventures as an Alice hunter I look for: Alices that destabilize the commonplace, the good taste and the well behaved; Alices that escape from linear paths and dive between the lines; Alices that challenge standards and formulas of representation; Alices that inhabit labyrinths, paradoxes and impossible geometries; Alices with metamorphic and mutant bodies challenging hybrid identities and eroticism; Alices that dive into bizarre nightmares and challenge the frontiers between mind, madness and the unconscious; Alices that journey through the world of dreams and the marvelous, plucking out the heart of her own mystery; Alices still able to surprise!

This journey through Alices in collages and montagistic procedures is organized into eight fits – or alicinations."

Fit 1: Transformation
 Pat Andrea

Fit 2: Intertextuality
Wolfe von Lenkiewicz
Diogo Muñoz

Fit 3: Multiplicity
Jane Pleydell Bouverie
Maggie Taylor

Fit 4: Great Puzzle
 Keneth Rougeau

Fit 5: Strangeling 
Jasmine Becket-Griffith

Fit 6: Identity

Fit 7: Metamorphosis
Jan Švankmajer

Fit 8: Curiouserism
 Antonio Peticov
Adriana Peliano

Alicedelic Collages: Pictures in Conversation by Adriana Peliano
This lecture was presented at the cellebration of the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland  by the Lewis Carroll Society of North America. New York, 2015.

No comments:

Post a Comment