Alice’s Wonderland in Warsaw
July 4, 2014
Two inventive projects at the Zachęta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw and in the nearby Saski Garden take visitors on a trip to the enchanted world of Alice in Wonderland.
The Lewis Carroll story of a young girl and her amazing adventures in a world of peculiar characters has inspired artist Włodzimierz Jan Zakrzewski to put up an interactive sound installation in the Saski Garden, in the heart of the capital. Entitled Alice in the Saski Garden, the installation seems to bend reality into strange shapes—the music it plays changes depending on what gestures passers-by make and the way they walk past. Visitors see images of playing cards that seem to come alive. Then they enter a maze that takes them to Żółty (Yellow), a work by Jakub B±kowski depicting a massive, noisy elephant. Visitors continue down a gravel path where sound effects are controlled by laser beams. Visitors can make different movements to change the rhythm, volume and tone of the sounds they hear.
B±kowski’s elephant stands 4 meters tall and as you approach it, you can hear it murmur and then trumpet. This large structure is essentially a copy of a ventilation system found in a warehouse in Warsaw’s Praga district. B±kowski has modified it by adding eyes, ears and a few other elements.
Alice in the Saski Garden is mirrored by Alice on the Other Side, a sequence of artistic installations located downstairs in the Zachęta National Gallery of Art across the street from the Saski Garden. This project has been inspired by Carroll’s playful take on scale, perspective and space. The opening installation is B±kowski’s Alice in a Small Room, in which the artist toys with the absurd logic of a dream. B±kowski first split Alice’s body into several parts of different colors and dimensions, only to put the girl back together again through the lenses of a pinhole camera and a vintage camera. This introduces audiences to a scaled-down world, a theme that continues in the next room. Here visitors can see prints and other items from the gallery’s collection that depict fantastic creatures, eerie landscapes and mysterious objects. The project at the Zachęta gallery closes with an installation by Zakrzewski entitled Tralabum i mubalarT, which features playing cards similar to the ones in the Saski Garden, but on a different scale.
Until July 6
Alice in the Saski Garden
Opposite the Zachęta National Gallery of Art
Until Aug. 17
Alice on the Other Side
Zachęta National Gallery of Art; 3 Małachowskiego Sq.