Welcome to Marwencol by Mark E. HogancampIn April 2000, Mark Hogancamp was beaten and left for dead outside a bar in his hometown of Kingston, NY. Waking from a nine-day coma, he had no memory of the thirty-eight prior years of his life, including his ex-wife, family, artistic talents, or military service. To reconstruct his past, Hogancamp built, in his backyard, Marwencol, an imaginary village set in World War II Belgium, where everybody is welcome—Germans, Americans, French, British, and Russians—as long as peace is kept. With 1:6 scale action figures and Barbie dolls, as well as toy armaments and meticulously built props, buildings, and clothes, Marwencol is an alternate reality, created with painstaking (and sometimes painful) realism and obsessive attention to detail.
Here, riveting wartime dramas are played out and photographed in saturated hues and unflinching detail. The emotional narrative mirrors the artists own: through Marwencol, Hogancamp regained his cognitive facilities.
Welcome to Marwencol is an astonishing story of the redemptive power of art—of art as therapy and act of obsession.
Welcome to Marwencol by Chris Shellen and Mark E. Hogancamp (2015, Hardcover)
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On April 8, , Mark Hogancamp was attacked outside of a bar by five men who beat him nearly to death after he drunkenly told them he was a cross-dresser. He called the town "Marwencol", blending the names "Mark", "Wendy" and "Colleen". Hogancamp was initially discovered by photographer David Naugle, who documented and shared his story with Esopus magazine,  whereby his work was shown in White Columns art gallery. The film Marwencol also known as Village of the Dolls in the UK    is a American documentary film that explores Hogancamp's life and work. It is the debut feature of director-editor Jeff Malmberg. Welcome to Marwencol is a art book by Hogancamp and Chris Shellen, published by Princeton Architectural Press , that documents Hogancamp's life and work.