Daniela Comani

What happens if the history of literature is rewritten from a different gender perspective?

By La Galleria Nazionale

La dottoressa Zivago (2017) by Daniela ComaniLa Galleria Nazionale

For many years I continued to maintain that I was able to remember things seen at the time of my birth. My earliest memory is dipped in red.

The beginning is easy to spot. It started by accident.

It started with a wrong number, three rings on the phone in the middle of the night and the voice on the set asking for someone other than me.

I was fifty and hadn’t slept with a woman for four years. It is not so long ago, when I was still thirty, and everything was possible.

I had once been a Princeton boxing champion. I have been homosexual for three months. I was a restless person.

I enjoyed traveling. For a whole year I did nothing but drive, traveling back and forth across America waiting for the money to run out.

One morning, awakening from restless dreams, I found myself changed into a monstrous insect.

Still lying down, I narrowed my eyes and saw the sloping roof. From the morning, my head still turned towards the wall, and even before seeing above the large window curtains what color the bright strip of the day was, I already knew what the weather was.

Il Romano (2011) by Daniela ComaniLa Galleria Nazionale

It was a strange, sweltering summer, the summer in which the Rosenbergs died by electric chair, and I was in New York and I felt like a lost soul. There you don’t see any normal people.

God knows that I have been living here now, in Paris, for a long time, that I should no longer be surprised at anything.

Being a nocturnal animal, I usually go to bed after dawn. And as a rule, I never wake up before one o’clock. Sleep left me more often then, not once or twice but four or five times a week.

Around noon the editorial secretary called to tell me that the editor wanted to speak to me.

I was late, always late, it was my fault, I knew it all too well, but now I couldn’t find the bag and once I found it (under the blue corduroy jacket on the coat hanger in the hall) they were the keys to miss.

I hurry, I leave home, I’m wearing a coat that is too heavy for the climate.

At that time, I didn’t know much about cars (like today, anyway). No fear. I have never been a crybaby.

Daniela Comani

La leggenda della santa bevitrice (2011) by Daniela ComaniLa Galleria Nazionale

Daniela Comani
(Bologna, 1965. She lives and works in Berlin.)

Daniela Comani’s research revolves around the theme of identity and time, understood in its relationship between historical data and personal memory, through the use of photography, collage, video, and books.

Neuerscheinungen hrsg. von Daniela Comani / Novità editoriali is a project in progress started in 2008 and presented – as often happens in the artist’s practice – in the form of photography, object and installation.

The Old Woman and The Sea (2015) by Daniela ComaniLa Galleria Nazionale

It is a series of covers of literary classics that at first glance seem to make up a common library: the layout, the author, the publishing house, the graphic layout: everything is familiar.

There are Dostoyevsky, Cervantes, Flaubert, Hemingway, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Robert Musil, Virginia Woolf and in all likelihood we remember the moment when we read the pages of this or that novel.

Some have remained beloved books, others bring school memories to the surface.

It is only at a second glance that we realize that each book has been manipulated, or rather, that the protagonist’s genre has been reversed.

But what then happens if the history of Western literature is rewritten from a different gender perspective?

Would the story told be the same, or would it completely change?

La dottoressa Zivago (2017) by Daniela ComaniLa Galleria Nazionale

On the occasion of the exhibition at Galleria Nazionale, the work is presented as a photograph, as an evidence of a detournament operation that has taken place and can be archived.

Cecilia Canziani

Credits: Story

Daniela Comani and Cecilia Canziani
Works cited: A. Sbrilli

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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