terça-feira, 29 de outubro de 2013

Feed your head

I wonder if Lewis Carroll had an inkling of what he was unleashing into the world when he wrote down the whimsical tales that so delighted Alice Liddell. Probably hadn't, immersed in the sheer delight of wordplay and ideas. While composing his nonsensical collages of visions, weaving logic into the illogical, he struck upon a chord that resonates to this day. His tales, devoid of traditional morals or life lessons aren't childish manuals for good behavior. Instead he opened a door that J. G. Ballard came to explore so well, that of the innerspace, where the mind and its dream logic is our final frontier.

With little surprise the surrealists were quick to aproppriate the works of Carroll. The whimsical dream logic played right into the dreamscapes that these painters and writers were boldly trying to go into, where no man had ever gone before. No man, except Carroll, or the painter Hyeronimus Bosch, or writers such as Poe and Lovecraft, all co-opted as grandfathers to an artistic movement that craved hanging boring old staid reality upside down with extreme prejudice. His influence on surrealism is twofold. First there's the new and unexpected meanings to be found in meaninglessness, true kernel of surrealism, visible in works as different as Magritte's calm dreamscapes or Dali's masterful inversions of logic, amongst the most well known. Second, as inspiration for countless revisitiations, starting with Tenniel's sublime renderings that turned the unreal into real and extending into a rich pictorial tradition in which the dream iconography, latent sexuality or psichedelic landscapes of Alice's world were explored in several media and techniques.

Perhaps one epitome of just how far Carroll carries us is the song White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane where the innocence of childhood and strange, dark meanings come full circle. Outerspace is huge, but Alice showed us the first steps into the vast innerspace inside our minds.

Jefferson Airplane (1967), White Rabbitt.
Hiltz, S. (2011). Curiouser and Curiouser and Curiouser: An exploration of surrealism in two illustrators of Lewis Carroll’s Alice. The Looking Glass : New Perspectives on Children's Literature, Vol 15, No 2
McAra, C. (2011). Surrealism’s Curiosity: Lewis Carroll and the Femme-Enfant.
Peliano, A. (2012). Através do Surrealismo e o que Alice Encontrou Lá.

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