Beth Katleman, Hotel Mirana, USA, 2014

Beth Katleman, Hotel Mirana, USA, 2014
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Beth Katleman, Hotel Mirana, USA, 2014

­­­­­­­­Around me the splendid Hotel Mirana revolved as a kind of private universe, a whitewashed cosmos within the blue greater one that blazed outside.   – Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

Channeling Nabokov’s Lolita, Katleman has created an opulent mirror that immerses the viewer in a private universe, with moments from the novel brought forth in 1950’s Americana. The name Hotel Mirana alone evokes the fading splendor of old Europe. Yet in this “princedom by the sea,” one does not have to look far for the encroachment of American pop culture.   The title refers to the elegant hotel in the south of France where the novel’s antihero spends his childhood and meets his first love.  Porcelain figurines cast from flea-market trinkets, corporate mascots, and souvenir pencil sharpeners become stand-ins for the characters in the novel.  The lavishly detailed porcelain recalls both the royal porcelain that would have graced the hotel, as well as the kitschy souvenirs Humbert Humbert and Lolita might have encountered on their journey across America.

This is not the first time Katleman has drawn inspiration from literature.  Her “Girls at War” series referenced Shakespeare, Greek mythology, and the American visionary painter and novelist Henry Darger.  Lolita, one of Katleman’s perennial favorite novels, proves fertile ground for the artist’s signature mix of opulence, excess, and dark humor.

Dimensions: 48″ x 30″ x 5″ (1220mm x 762mm x 127mm)

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