Like everything at Le Musée – A menagerie of sources and inner connections inspired the creation of Dolly.
A, The “humbug” flea circuses of yore have always been a fascination for me.. Unlike “real” flea circuses with actual fleas, a humbug circus relied on the audience’s willing suspension of disbelief for the show to work. The audience must be willing to suspend their critical faculties and believe the unbelievable or to sacrifice realism and logic for the sake of enjoyment. For me, this is also a subtle critique of all modern media.
B, I love the idea of performing fleas – but I thought the idea of having a tiny performer that was invisible – like tinker bell, but with a sexual apatite was more provocative and fun – hence the idea of a nymph.
C, I felt that this concept of an invisible performer needed more backbone, so I made dolly a dead nymph, or the spirit of a spirit. A spirit having a spirit, well thats paradoxical and very pataphysical. I also love that the word spirit has many meanings and connotations.
D, Many of these associations come together in one of my favorite books - Nabokov’s Lolita. The main character Humber Humbert (which connects in my mind to humbug) describes Lolita as his "Nymphet". I think Nabokov invented the term.
Put it all together and you can see how Deloris Glimph, the phantasmal aquatic nymph was born
There’s also this quote from Lolita – which I adore. “I need you, dear reader, to imagine us, for we don't really exist if you don't.”