'Alice in Wonderland,' as Illustrated by Yayoi Kusama

By Maria Popova

One of Japan's most revered contemporary artists applies her perspective to a classic tale.

Penguin

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass endure as some of history's most beloved children's storytelling, full of timeless philosophy for grown-ups and inspiration for computing pioneers. The illustrations that have accompanied Lewis Carroll's classics over the ages have become iconic in their own right, from Leonard Weisgard's stunning artwork for the first color edition of the book to Salvador Dali's little-known but breathtaking version. Now, from Penguin UK and Yayoi Kusama, Japan's most celebrated contemporary artist, comes a striking contender for the most visually captivating take on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland yet.

Since childhood, Kusama has had a rare condition that makes her see colorful spots on everything she looks at. Her vision, both literally and creatively, is thus naturally surreal, almost hallucinogenic. Her vibrant artwork, sewn together in a magnificent fabric-bound hardcover tome, becomes an exquisite embodiment of Carroll's story and his fascination with the extraordinary way in which children see and explore the ordinary world.

aliceinwonderland_kusama1.jpg

aliceinwonderland_kusama2.jpg

aliceinwonderland_kusama3.jpg

aliceinwonderland_kusama4.jpg

aliceinwonderland_kusama5.jpg

aliceinwonderland_kusama6.jpg

aliceinwonderland_kusama7.jpg

aliceinwonderland_kusama8.jpg

aliceinwonderland_kusama9.jpg

aliceinwonderland_kusama10.jpg

aliceinwonderland_kusama11.jpg

aliceinwonderland_kusama_endcover.jpg

A breathtaking piece of visual philosophy to complement Carroll's timeless vision, Kusama's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is the latest affirmation of what appears to be the season of exceptionally beautiful books.

brainpickingslogo.jpg

This post also appears on Brain Pickings, an Atlantic partner site.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/04/alice-in-wonderland-as-illustrated-by-yayoi-kusama/256074/