Kissing Dolores

  • Françoise Palleau-Papin Université Paris 13


In The Book of Dolores, a series of self-portraits in photography and drawings with accompanying text, William T. Vollmann pictures himself as a cross-dresser. He uses various techniques that emphasize the pictorial approach of photography, to create an uncanny icon of femininity. As an attempt to reach the other side, not just of gender, but of life, his negative prints in particular seem to reveal a ghostly presence.

In TheBook of Dolores, una serie di autoritratti fotografici e disegnati e accompagnati da un testo scritto, William T. Vollmann si ritrae come un travestito. Utilizza diverse tecniche che enfatizzano l’approccio pittorialista alla fotografia per creare un’icona perturbante della femminilità. Tentativi di raggiungere l’altro lato, non solo del genere, ma anche della vita, i suoi negativi, in particolare, sembrano rivelare una presenza spettrale.

Riferimenti bibliografici

Araki, Nobuyoshi. Leçon de photo intégrale. Trans. Dominique and Frank Sylvain. Éditions Atelier Akatombo, 2018.

Barthes, Roland. Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. Trans. Richard Howard. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1981.

Cordié Levy, Marie. Autoportraits de photographes. Photo Poche-Actes Sud, 2009.

Heyman, Stephen. “William T. Vollmann: The Self Images of a Cross-Dresser.” The New York Times, 14 Nov. 2013, New York Edition (E8).

Leiter, Saul. In My Room. Steidl, 2017.

Palleau-Papin, Françoise. “Imperial Photography.” William T. Vollmann: A Critical Com-panion, edited by Christopher K. Coffman and Daniel Lukes, U of Delaware P, 2015, pp. 295-315.

Perry, Grayson. Vanity, Identity, Sexuality: A Selection of Works Commented by the Artist. (Ex-hibition Booklet) Monnaie de Paris, 2018.

Vollmann, William T. The Atlas. Viking Penguin, 1996.

---. The Book of Dolores. powerHouse Books, 2013.

---. Imperial: Photographs. powerHouse Books, 2009.

---. Kissing the Mask: Beauty, Understatement and Femininity in Japanese Noh Theater. Ecco, 2010.

---. Poor People. Ecco, 2007.

---. Rising Up and Rising Down: Some Thoughts on Violence, Freedom and Urgent Means. McSweeney’s Books, 2003.

Woodman, Francesca. On Being an Angel. Moderna Museet, & Koenig Books, 2015.

Come citare
Palleau-PapinF. (2019). Kissing Dolores. ENTHYMEMA, (23), 73-81.
«We Should Never Write Without Feelings». Studi su William T. Vollmann – A cura di Giuseppe Carrara e Marco Malvestio