Hotel Mirana, 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

Hotel Mirana is the first in a series of projects based on Lolita, Nabokov’s classic tale of corruption set in the consumer culture of 1950’s America. In the novel, the contrast between nostalgia for European grandeur and kitsch Americana provides fertile ground for the series. Hotel Mirana is named after the hotel in France where the protagonist spent his childhood and met his first love. Yet in the “private universe” depicted in the mirror, 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 might have graced the hotel and the kitschy souvenirs Humbert Humbert and Lolita acquired on their journey across America.

Hotel Mirana, (detail), 2014
mirror, wood, porcelain, wire, chain
48 x 30 x 5 inches

Photos by Malcolm Varon