“MARK HOGANCAMP: PICTURING MARWENCOL”
On April 8, 2000, Mark Hogancamp was brutally attacked by five men in his hometown of Kingston, New York. The assault caused severe brain damage, and after running out of insurance money, Hogancamp turned to art as a therapeutic tool. He constructed Marwencol, a fictional Belgian town built to one-sixth scale in his backyard, populating it with military figurines and Barbie dolls representing World War II personages like Patton and Hitler as well as stand-ins for himself, friends, and family. He used an old camera to capture staged events ranging from pitched battles between occupying German and American forces to catfights in the town bar. Hogancamp made his public debut in 2005 when “Marwencol on my Mind,” a piece featuring a selection of the artist’s extraordinary photographs and the inspiring story behind them, appeared in Esopus 5.
“Picturing Marwencol” included 43 photographs taken by Hogancamp over the past several years of his imaginary town. Depicting everything from erotically charged moments between lovers to vividly realized battle scenes, each demonstrates what critic Jerry Saltz called Hogancamp’s “uncanny feel for body language, psychology, and stage direction.”
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