366 Days, 52 Bookcovers and 1 Happy Couple
April 9 - June 4, 2011
Artist's Reception: April 9, 2011, 7-10pm
Show Catalog (pdf, 2.06 Mb)
Charlie James Gallery is delighted to present the first American solo exhibition of Berlin-based artist Daniela Comani. Comani has several key preoccupations that inform her work. She seeks to show us where women are not in 20th century world history, in the Western literary canon, and in organs of the popular media. She also seeks to show us the postures and manners of the married couple as a kind of ritualized gender template, which she then seeks to subvert. And she has a concentrated interest in removing the distance one conventionally feels when reading historical texts. The show will feature work from Comani’s New Publications series, her Happy Marriage series, and her It Was Me – Diary work.
The New Publications series consists of fifty-two archival pigment prints of iconic western literary masterpieces distributed evenly across English, French, German and Italian, in which the gender assignments within each title are reversed. Flaubert’s Madame Bovary becomes Monsieur Bovary, Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man becomes Young Woman, and on and on throughout the canon.
The Happy Marriage series consists of digital photographs of a married couple wherein Comani plays both the man and the woman. This series demonstrates many of the postures and poses that suggest a married couple, forming a template of sorts that reveals the hegemony of the heterosexual.
Lastly the It Was Me – Diary 1900-1999 presents one hundred years of history out of any chronological order presented in the first person. Effectively, Comani has written a diary of the twentieth century as though all the events actually happened to her. From one day to the next, from one report to the next, she is a passive witness, then an activist, then victim, then perpetrator. In this way she is seemingly the initiator of these twentieth-century historical events. Like A Happy Marriage, Comani is playing with roles again, and like the New Publications, again we see where women are not as we read her recontextualized account of the 20th century.
Daniela Comani was born in Bologna, Italy in 1965. Since 1989 she has lived and worked in Berlin. Her work is in many notable permanent collections, including the Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and the Museum on the Seam in Jerusalem. Comani will exhibit in the San Marino Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale this summer. This is her first solo show in the United States.