Magazine article Artforum International

Ydessa Hendeles

Magazine article Artforum International

Ydessa Hendeles

Article excerpt

"I, Kusama, am the modern Alice in Wonderland," says Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama at the end of her fantasist rendering of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Penguin Classics), the classic 1865 children's fantasy by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll). Kusama's self-identification with Alice perhaps explains what distinguishes this beautiful example of book art from the many other attempts to add pictures to Dodgson's words--from Sir John Tenniel's original designs to the painterly approach of Salvador Dali or the skilled draftsmanship of Arthur Rackham.

Kusama's rendering is Wonderland seen firsthand through Alice's eyes and interpreted as if through her imagination. --YdessaHendeles

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Some of Kusama's imagery re-creates iconic elements of the original illustrations--the grin without a cat, for example, and the Mad Hatter's hat (albeit here more fashion cloche than formal wear)--but some pictorial elements familiar from other editions are missing (playing cards, for example, and even Alice herself, who recognizably appears in only one image, at the very end). …

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