Alice, Interrupted

14 – 24 June 2018

Brooke Leigh

Canberra Contemporary Art Space

Alice, Interrupted is a new series of works exploring the extreme state of vulnerability that a child is exposed to as a dependant, and the symptomatic affects that these early experiences have on the psyche. Childhood objects, prints, drawings, photographs and audiovisual installations draw on a reoccurring sensation of helplessness and the desire for transformation as an escape. Reminiscent of Alice, a young figure of innocence condemned to Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland, displacement, desperation and a dissipating sense of self echoes throughout the exhibition. Surreal encounters and an aura of the uncanny emerge from repressed emotions rooted in fear and anxiety. Neither defined as a figment of the imagination nor a representation of some form of reality, Alice oscillates between pronoun, noun or proper noun––all of which lead to questions probing at an internalised traumatic neurosis.

By opening up personal experiences to the public through an iconic narrative, the exhibition gives agency and validation to intense emotional and psychological states that are often suppressed in an attempt to subscribe to normative views, resisting shame and judgement. Alice, Interrupted discovers that there is the possibility of reasserting control through externalisation, and that the work allows one to express, recognise and thereby come to terms with bodily and emotional suffering.

Photo Credit: Ellen Dahl