My new installation « Alice in the Garden » explores Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass using a pinhole camera ( of course) and marionettes made by the English artist Margaret Littleton Cook in the 1940s. The characters are considered as representations of psychological states and Alice’s dream of wonderland as a spiritual journey.
The installation mingles the fictional with the real. It creates a dynamic between the natural space and photographic images. The garden will take on new meaning as a setting for Alice’s adventures. Each visitor will have a unique experience of the installation as the light and garden change throughout the day and season.
I found many parallels with Buddhist philosophy and psychology in the books. Wonderland is another name for samsara the wheel of cyclic existence that we are trapped in due to ignorance, attachment and aversion. At the end of the book Alice wakes up, Buddha means someone who has woken up.
Each character Alice encounters on her journey represents a disturbing emotion that must be transformed in order to reach enlightenment. Carroll calls the Queen of Hearts the embodiment of anger. Lewis Carroll brings up philosophical debates around time, perception, and what in Buddhism is called emptiness or interdependence and uses nonsense to explore these concepts and others such as impermanence, duality, identity and the role of language.
By aligning the different spaces : physical, psychological and pictorial I propose a new experience of Carroll’s text and the garden.
Join me for the opening on Alice Day July 6th at the Oxford Botanic Garden, the work will be on show until the end of August.