Cerca nel blog

sabato 26 novembre 2011

Wonderlands, part 1

It all started with a dinner and a mirror. A few weeks ago we were invited to spend the evening with my in-laws, and as is often the case with small children, my daughter started to run around and explore their big, cozy flat, so full of cool and interesting objects. In the hall there's a big rectangular mirror with a carved golden frame, almost reaching the floor. We don't have such a low mirror at home, so it was an exciting surprise for my daughter to see herself in full length. She started to talk with "the other Elin", the one in the other side of the mirror. She even asked me if she could actually go to the other side. I was struck by her fantasy, because she came up with that thought just by herself, with her 3 year old (young) experience of the world. The same evening as we went back home I ordered Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-glass on the internet, the original text with the drawings made for the very first edition. When the parcel with the book slipped through the mail slot in our door, it was my daughter who picked it up and opened it, and again I was surprised when she recognized Alice in the watercolour painting on the cover of the book. She had seen the Disney cartoon only once before, and not so recently. Even if it was a "grown-up's" book, she decided it was hers, and I had to read it for her, translating simultaneously from English into Italian. As I told my mother about this, she decided to send us a copy of the book in Italian, so yesterday we got it, together with a bag of chocolates. Elin hugged the parcel when it came in trough the door, and looked at the pictures many times. She was particularly fond of the one where Alice swims in her own sea of tears. AND, last but not least, my in-laws had some new posters on the wall, some uncanny, surreal and truly beautiful pictures of weird girls, flamingoes, flying pigs.... I found out they were some illustrations by Maggie Taylor, an American digital image artist who, among other things, made this. So, in a couple of weeks a series of coincidences triggered by my daughter and a mirror lead to me Alice and different Wonderlands: the novels by Lewis Carroll, who was also a lecturer in mathematics and a photographer, so automatically another door opened onto his photographs, and then Maggie Taylor.
Maggie Taylor was born in Florida, and she studied Philosophy at Yale and photography in Florida, and worked 10 years as a still-life photographer before starting to use computer techniques to create her imaginary world. This happened in 1996. She intermingles different sources of inspiration, like 19 century photos, vintage objects, and her own photographs, which are all combined to create her unique pictures, so disturbing and yet so beautiful and calm. "It all seemed quite natural", quoting from Alice in Wonderland, has she first notices the white rabbit. Natural with the distorted and astonishingly plausible logic of dreams.
Her photos look very much like paintings, and they perfectly match not only the disquieting atmosphere of Carroll's novel, but even, somehow, his works as a photographer. In 2003 Douglas R. Nickel, curator of photography at the S. Francisco Museum of Modern Art, arranged an exhibition called Dreaming in Pictures: the Photography of Lewis Carroll. The exhibition displayed 72 pictures, mainly portraits of people and enigmatic portraits of children, who were maybe his favourite subject. According to Nickel, "Carroll's photographs show the workings of his unique intelligence, underscoring his literary concerns with fantasy, dreaming, childhood innocence, and the power of the imagination, but they also illustrate a strain of Victorian photography that has been largely ignored by or suppressed in official histories of the medium. This exhibition offers the opportunity to examine both the individual and his times."

Nessun commento:

Posta un commento