Beth Katleman, Hotel Mirana, USA, 2014

Beth Katleman, Hotel Mirana, USA, 2014

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’s opulent mirror immerses the viewer in a private universe, with moments from the novel brought forth through objects from 1950’s Americana.  The title refers to the elegant hotel in the south of France where the novel’s antihero, Humbert Humbert, spends his childhood and meets his first love.  The name Hotel Mirana alone evokes the fading splendor of old Europe. Yet in Katleman’s rendition of this “princedom by the sea,” one does not have to look far for the encroachment of American pop culture.  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 and 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 references 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″

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