What if it were ‘Mr. Dalloway’? Book covers revisited


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Imagine if Graham Greene’s classic had been titled ‘Our Woman in Havana.’ How would the story of spies and intrigue have changed? Would readers expect dancing and romance rather than British agent trickery?

German artist Daniela Comani doesn’t dig into these questions, but she raises them in her New Publications series, on exhibit now in L.A.’s Charlie James Gallery, her first solo show in the U.S. Much of Comani’s art investigates the boundaries of gender; in the New Publications series, she brings her sensibility to literature.


In the series, Comani retitles books by inverting gender-focused words in the titles: ‘La Petite Princesss’ for ‘The Little Prince,’ ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman’ in place of James Joyce’s ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.’ She uses images of vintage book covers and very closely recreates them.

After the jump, see some snapshots of her work taken during a visit to the exhibition, which closes June 4.

Above, Comiani does Fyodor Dostoyevsky with ‘The Sisters Karamozov’ and D.H. Lawrence with ‘Lord Chatterly’s Lover.’

How would Virginia Woolf’s feminist classic ‘Mrs. Dalloway’ change if it were ‘Mr. Dalloway’? Would it be all about going to work on the day of a party?

Jean Cocteau’s ‘La Belle et La Bête’ (‘Beauty and the Beast’) is transformed to ‘Le Beau et La Bête,’ a switcheroo that would be roughly translated to ‘The Handsome Guy and the Beastly Woman.’ (Better translation suggestions are welcome -- my French is atrocious).

Italian author Alberto Moravia isn’t as well-known in the U.S. as British spymaster Graham Greene.


In addition to retooling Miguel Cervantes’ classic as ‘Don Quixote,’ Comani created Hermann Hesse’s ‘Die Steppenwolfin’ and Ernest Hemingway’s ‘The Old Woman and the Sea.’ Not pictured: the fairly dirty feminized version of Herman Melville’s ‘Moby Dick.’


A box of Penguins: postcards from paperbacks

Natalie Portman’s ‘Lolita’ clutch

Art review: Daniela Comani at the Charlie James Gallery

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Top photo: Daniela Comani’s gender-switching work. Credit: Charlie James Gallery


Bottom photos: Installation of Daniela Comani’s New Publications series at Charlie James Gallery in Los Angeles. Credits: Carolyn Kellogg