Exhibition: Alice in Wildland

Location: Castra Gallery, Haifa
Date: 2000
About Alice – By Ilana Raviv
Exhibition Review

I have been fascinated with the character of “Alice” from Alice in Wonderland for many years. In the year 2000 Castra Gallery in Haifa, Israel, hosted an exhibit of mine – I called it “Alice in Wildland”.


I have dealt with Alice from a personal and different point of view. In doing so I have broken away from the original story and have created a fantasy world based on childhood dreams and memories which have become my own private mythology. They form a personal cycle of girl-doll-woman. The ubiquitous Alice finds her way into all of these scenes.

My connection to Alice’s story is through visions of shapes and is not connected to the actual narrative. The fantasy, disorder and lack of any logic create a new order of the events which sweep me off to other places; to the amusement park, riding the carrousel and on top of the Ferris wheel, places that transcend space and time.

Alice’s essence is that of innocence, childhood, dreams and day dreaming of another, different world than that of the adults – a world of hypocrisy, politics and wars. In my exhibit, I placed Alice in “Wildland” – the land of politics and wars, where innocence, beauty and dreams are lost. Alice’s image is fascinating. It is sarcastic and filled with contrasts. She represents these contradictions and the paradoxes of existence. Her classic image is flexible and soft and everything about her is possible. She has no limitations and no boundaries. She can be transformed into anything.

I live, like her, within this lack of security amidst these changes in an unstable, modern world, hypocritical and fickle, where the bottom feels like it shall drop from underneath our feet at any moment into a deep abyss.

This is a lawless world, where everything has an opposite. Time is not time, being is not being, yes is no and all that is just us unjust. We then find ourselves clinging with great fervor to the objects of our childhood which are slipping away from us. We cling to them as a safety anchor.

Grappling with this subject matter is dealing with a pathetic, grotesque farce and with the crooked mirror reflecting the absurd comedy of our lives.

My Alice is quite sober. She is not quite a child, yet not quite a woman – trapped yet trapping the white rabbit. She is described in different situations. While fleeing, she runs for her life. Her arms are so long she never quite knows what to do with them.

My paintings usually touch the abstract but are not abstract. They manifest a different realism. They stem from a hinted reality and are the fruits of momentary inspiration. I create different levels than that of reality in spontaneous work. I do not represent any philosophical stream which needs interpretation of decisions or seeking conclusions. One moment creates the next. A shape suggests another shape. This work transcends taste, time and fashion.

Ilana Raviv 2003