Archive for January 3rd, 2022
Curiouser And Curiouser In La Laguna Wonderland


Innocent, endearing, but darkly haunting. It´s 160 years since Alice In Wonderland tumbled into a rabbit hole full of trouble. I was grinning like a cheshire cat when I discovered the Oxford written  creation of Charles Dodgson (under the name of Lewis Carrol) had emerged at a Caja Canarias Fundacion exhibition in La Laguna. Appropriately, the setting was a university town, but in this case, just outside Tenerife capital city, Santa Cruz.

As a child I was familiar with the tales that wandered from the academic path of Dodgson with his chosen staid diet of maths and science. Let´s be honest, I was more familiar with the frothy milk shakes and cream cakes at The White Rabbit cafe in nearby  Cowley Centre, although a little less familiar with the full meals upstairs at The Lewis Carroll Restaurant.

Quarrelsome twins Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, the savage Queen Of Hearts, Mad Hatter, and potions that shrunk and expanded Alice to giant size, hinted at dark forces. These underlying surreal twists are the focus of the exhibition. Salvador Dali and Max Ernst caught the bug in later life and added ideas to their paintings ans illustrations. The two storey building contains references to all this and more surprises. It´s even suggested that the ground breaking Hadron Collider particle acelerator was referred to as A Large Ion Collider Experiment or ALICE for short. Some of Alice´s universe has spread into other disciplines, the Jabberwocky poem from Through The Looking Glass established the bizarre creature as an iconic figure. maybe 90s post rave band The Mock Turtles were spurred on by the turtle featured in Wonderland.

Alice Liddel, the 10 year old child of a family friend of Dodgson, is said to be the inspiration for the fictional Alice. A surreal coincidence rounded off my trip ro the exhibition. Aster mentioning my Oxford connection, I was introduced to a young British family viewing the works. The father told me his interest was drawn to the display because they live in Lyndhurst in the New Forest, where the body of Alice Liddel is buried. How very curious!