"Geometry of Nonsense"
works by Yuri Vashenko
2nd June – 7th July
Open 11am - 5pm; Monday - Saturday, most days
(scroll to the bottom of the page to see dates when the exhibition is closed)
Please call in advance to check or if you would like to see the exhibition outside these hours.
Geometry of Nonsense is an exhibition of drawings and etchings by Yuri Vashenko, one of Russia’s leading illustrators of Lewis Carroll. It contains illustrations to several books by the great writer, mathematician and logician, created by the artist over more than 30 years.
The latest book is Philosophical Alice, a collection of commentaries by different philosophers to Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Vashenko describes his works in this book as, ‘a graphic commentary' to the original illustrations by John Tenniel, that were created in close collaboration with Lewis. In his ‘commentary’, Vashenko reveals the geometry latent but invisible in the original drawings, and introduces his own.
Carroll’s works have been embraced in Russian culture to an extraordinary extent: there are more than 30 Russian versions of the book, following its first appearance in Russian as 'Sonya in a Kingdom of Wonder' in 1879. The fascination went both ways: some scholars consider that the idea for Alice Through the Looking Glass came to Carroll when he visited Russia in 1867, two years after the publication of Alice in Wonderland in English.
Vashenko was born in Moscow in 1941. He graduated from the fine art and graphic department of the Moscow State Pedagogical Institute in 1963. Since 1972 he has regularly taken part in exhibitions in Russia and abroad, and has been a member of the Russian Artists' Union since 1974. He lived and worked in America for several years in the 1990s and was awarded two grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation in 1994 and 1999.
Vashenko has been drawn to English literature throughout his life as an artist and illustrator. His work has won extensive awards and he has worked with Moscow’s leading publishing houses. He is most famous for his illustrations for Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass (1982) that have since been reprinted; he also illustrated A Tangled Tale (1971), Logical Game (1991), and Philosophical Alice, published in a limited edition in 2015 by Vita Nova publishing house, St Petersburg.
Vashenko’s work is included in the collections of: the Tretyakov Gallery, the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, the Fine Art Museums of Tyumen, Murmansk and Novosibirsk as well as in many private Russian and international collections. This is Vashenko's first exhibition in the UK.
The exhibition runs until the 7th July, with an accompanying programme of events that runs beyond this date, since the work will still be accessible in the evenings until the end of July.
In conversation: artist Yuri Vashenko and Liza Dimbleby. READ MORE & BOOK
Growing up in Wonderland: Daria Kulesh and Marina Osman explore the ambiguous wonderland of their Soviet childhood through song. READ MORE & BOOK
'Alice Grows Up: Russian Emigrees and the Making of a Style Icon' a talk by Kiera Vaclavik of Queen Mary University. READ MORE & BOOK
Screening of ‘Alice’ (1987) an animation masterpiece from the end of the Soviet Period by Czech filmmaker Jan Švankmajer. Further details to be confirmed.