Edward Lear, Alice in Wonderland, The Finishing Touch exhibition and Knowledge Lives Everywhere at FACT
I'M BEGINNING this post with a taste of the absurb because it feels on this dreary Thursday afternoon that we could do with some. First up, I received a little book of Edward Lear poetry through the post. It's been self-published by London-based cartoonist Zhenia Vasiliev - the text is out of copyright - and is really lovely. I was originally speaking to Zhenia about running some of his cartoons as a picture gallery for LiveRead - given Lear's links with Merseyside (he was employed by Knowsley Hall to draw Lord Derby's menagerie) - but they weren't ready in time. Perhaps we'll be able to do something with them next year instead but for now here is a suitably ridiculous limerick:
That the street door was partially closed;
But some very large rats,
Ate his coats and his hats,
While that futile old gentleman dozed.
The second piece of nonsense is related to Alice in Wonderland - I've been reading up on his life and work because of Tate Liverpool's exhibition later this year. It's a bit frustrating because his family destroyed so much of his correspondence and diaries after his death, but anyway his writing speaks for itself and it's interesting how many other writers and artists have been inspired by it as we'll see at Tate.
Simon Winchester's new book The Alice Behind Wonderland, published by Oxford University Press, is really well written and expresses the excitement Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) must have felt while exploring the relatively new medium of photography - leading him to take the famous picture of Alice Liddle, the inspiration for his Wonderland stories.
As Winchester explains, most of Dodgson's surviving papers are held by the library of Princeton University - a "room-within-a-room [...] notable for its deep and corduroy-ribbed reading chairs, stained glass, richly polished paneling, lamps, and portraits. Perhaps most impressive iof all to those of romantic disposition is its baronial fireplace - in which, however, no fire is ever permitted to be lit because of its being sited within a great and very flammable academic library'. Lovely.
THE Finishing Touch exhibition opens at the Lady Lever Art Gallery this week displaying accessories from 1830-1940 taken from National Museums Liverpool's stores. This video shows decorative arts curator Alyson Pollard talking about some of the 60 exhibits.
SOME interesting arts-related links I've spotted this week:
LAST but (I hope) not least, if you're anywhere near FACT tomorrow you may want to pop up to Gallery 2 and check out the installation I've created as part of the Knowledge Lives Everywhere exhibition. It's on rotation throughout the day and is based on the question "Are we more creative when times are tough?"
It uses photographs from the Liverpool Daily Post's archive, taken during the late 1970s and 80s, to show the two different sides of the city.Images of rioting, picket lines and dilapidated buildings contrast with pictures of Liverpool's vibrant music scene and mad-cap theatrical productions.
Accompanying the slideshow are interviews with people using culture to express themselves politically today - Liverpool playwright Laurence Wilson, whose play, Tiny Volcanoes, is currently on a UK tour; Fabian Devlin and Richard Fisher of punk band, We Came Out Like Tigers, and artists Penny Whitehead and Daniel Simpkins.
Whether or not you get the chance to see it I'd be interested to hear your opinions on the subject.
That's all for now - thanks for reading