Queen Ann. P.S. Belly cut off. Mariken Wessels.

Posted in art, Motto Berlin store, photography on September 25th, 2010
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Queen Ann. P.S. Belly cut off. Mariken Wessels.
Published by alauda publications.
80 pages full color (Dutch/Eng). 24 x 33 cm.
Including glassine envelope containing photos.

The photographs in this book are sourced from an existing person, a middle-aged woman wringing with her self-image in an endless stream of manipulated photographs of herself, making them into a true cabinet of curiosities. The authentic arrangement of the discovered material, with its strange mixture of old and new photographs, film material and collages is strikingly deceptive. In fact, both in Elisabeth – I want to eat – as well as in Queen Ann. P.S. Belly cut off, it is the hand of the fine craftswoman Mariken Wessels at work. The suggestive, intimate force of the ‘found’ photographic material and other personal documents, as well as the sequencing of the images as a whole, are both deliberately arranged with great precision. Wessels sensitively appropriates the photo and film material by newly photographing, editing, and re-organizing them, often incorporating other material in a complementary gesture. In doing so, she constructs a narrative, weaving together images in the medium of the book.

In Queen Ann. P.S. Belly cut off it is the unfolding of a melancholic narrative of a woman, whose life seems to be dominated by her obesity. Yet the reader is never turned into a voyeur. ‘Queen Ann’s’ peculiar and touching photo collages of herself, expressing a longing for another ‘being’, are fused with the image that the book evokes around her persona. In the contrast which the arrangement of the photos make all too evident, an uncomfortable incompatibility emerges between the present and the past life of Ann and the status of being beautiful. Wessels breathes new life into her protagonist, blurring the lines between fiction and reality, giving way in the process to a seemingly ‘higher’ reality.

D 35€

LIMITED EDITION

75 copies numbered and signed. With two unpublished photos on Hahnemühle Photo Rag.
In handmade box.

€ 149

Buy:orders@mottodistribution.com
Available for distribution.

Elisabeth – I want to eat. Mariken Wessels.

Posted in art, Motto Berlin store, photography on September 25th, 2010
Tags: ,

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Elisabeth – I want to eat. Mariken Wessels.
Published by alauda publications.
80 pages full color (Dutch/Eng). 24 x 33 cm.
Including six thin colour-paper inserts.

The book was initially self-published by the artist in 2008 in a small edition and was widely acclaimed. It won the Silver Medal Book Award at the Fotofestival di Roma and was recently acquired by the MoMA collection in New York.

Elisabeth – I want to eat – consists of a collection of anonymous photographs, letters and postcards belonging to a young woman, which the artist stumbled upon in a shop in the Hendrik Jacobszstraat in Amsterdam. Wessels appropriates the found material in her own way, by photographing the images, creatively processing and arranging them, as well as occasionally adding her own material. The intensity and sensuality of the photographs are reminiscent of the work of master photographers like Gerard Fieret and Miroslaw Tichý. They depict a young woman defiantly posing in front of the camera, both figuratively and literally exposing herself. The black and white photographs are worn out, frayed by numerous scratches and dust particles, blending together both the exaltation and melancholy recorded in them. Apart from the photographs, the book carries a series of printed postcards and letters addressed to Elisabeth, from which the reader gradually infers that her life was thrown off track in some way. ‘Religion, order, discipline, detachment from the quest for ambition’ – these are, in brief, the ingredients of advice, with which a family member proposes to ‘heal’ her. Yet the person giving her advice himself tells no straightforward story. One is in fact left wondering which of the two people is more bizarre. There is a stark contrast in the book between the idyllic landscapes in the postcards painted in sweet watercolour and the disarming directness of Elisabeth’s gaze in to the camera. The book contains thin colour-paper inserts, on which the letters and postcards to Elisabeth almost transform into a direct appeal to the reader. The title of the publication is taken from the only letter in the book penned by Elisabeth herself, addressed to an unknown friend:
‘(…) The last time I saw you it was nice and I felt much better. Are you still in Brussels? I don’t know but I liked the house you lived and the streets there. I want to eat.’

D 35€

LIMITED EDITION
75 copies numbered and signed. With two unpublished photos on Hahnemühle Photo Rag.
In handmade box

€ 149

Buy: orders@mottodistribution.com
Available for distribution.