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

Queen Ann. P.S. Belly cut off 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.

80 pages | 24 x 33 cm | Softcover
ISBN: 9789081531412 | NL/ENG
Including glassine envelope containing photos

Design: Mariken Wessels in cooperation with Esther Krop

Selected as one of the Best Photo Books of 2010
by LeMonde.fr, Joerg Colberg, Photo-eye, Humble Arts Foundation,
Shane Lavalette and Cadoc.nl

€ 35.00

Category: ID: 1656

Mariken Wessels’ second artist book is titled Queen Ann. P.S. Belly cut off. 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.

The genre of the art book, in particular the picture novel, is currently witnessing a huge emergence in the contemporary art scene. Mariken Wessels lends her unique interpretation to this form through a skillful combination of picture novel and independent photo book. It is thus not without reason that her first book has already turned into a collector’s item.

About the Author

Mariken Wessels (1963) is visual artist. www.marikenwessels.com

  1. Peter Koopman


    “Queen Ann. P.S. Belly cut off van kunstenares Mariken Wessels is een raadselachtig, fascinerend boek waar je niet in één oogopslag kunt zien waar de kunstenares welke ingreep heeft gepleegd om een (levens)verhaal te vertellen. Fictie en werkelijkheid vloeien onmerkbaar in elkaar over…”
    Read more on: Cadoc.nl

  2. Joerg Colberg


    “This is what makes a good photo book: A body of work that allows space for interpretation, that can live, no: that has to exist with uncertainty, with not everything being well-defined, a body of work that knows that a narrative that does not involve the viewer’s imagination is little more than a comic strip…”
    Read more on: Conscientious

  3. Jeffrey Ladd


    “Although lacking the wealth but perhaps like our image of famous queens, Ann is also slightly lonely, unsatisfied, and displays vengeful violent streaks which in this case, she plays out on her own image rather than others. […] Although melancholy in overall tone, Ann’s unique character and playfulness outshine her underlying problems with aging and self image.”
    Read more on: 5b4

  4. Michiel Hogenboom


    “It’s the kind of book that haunts your head for days. An enigmatic collage of old black & white family photographs, portraits, stills from Kodak 8 mm film and photographs of photographs. It tells a disturbing, ambiguous and gripping tale of which the virtuous narrator is Wessels herself. […] The precise and careful design is by Wessels in collaboration with Esther Krop of Alauda Publications, a new publisher in the fields of arts, culture and theory. Also the newly published re-issue of “Elisabeth – I want to eat -” is available with a special edition (including two pictures). Both are absolute gems.”
    Read more on : we like art!

  5. Mark Feustel


    “The book is extremely artfully composed and sequences different elements successfully, from smaller snapshots, to sequences of hazy blow-ups and collages giving the book a rhythm, but also several distinct changes of pace. Queen Ann is a fine example of the benefits of the current independent photobook publishing boom: no mainstream publisher would ever dare to produce a book like this. It is both difficult and confusing and, for these very reasons, extremely rewarding.”
    Read more on: EyeCurious

  6. Joerg Colberg


    “Is this the Golden Age of photobook making? If it isn’t, I really need to hear why. Speaking of Golden Age, there are lots and lots of cutting-edge photobooks being produced in The Netherlands right now, Mariken Wessels’ Queen Ann P.S. Belly Cut Off being another one particularly good example. Founds photographs, remixed, recycled, re-edited. Brilliant.”
    Read more on: Conscientious

  7. Fabio Severo


    “After having seen her face so many times in the book, in this last photo we are finally free to imagine her, as she is maybe imagining herself as a different person, while staring at the sun. After all photography can show the invisible, and appearances can often be deceitful.”
    Read more on: Hippolyte Bayard

  8. Daniel Augschoell


    “Many interpretations are equally plausible. Maybe the book is not exactly a nightmare, but just a story, more similar to a stream of consciousness. Ann is thinking about herself and we are luckily involved in her life. The book itself is very well designed and composed. Mariken Wessels, by creating this enigmatic narrative book, makes it possible to live profoundly Ann’s story.”
    Read more on : Ahorn Magazine

  9. Aishlinn Bruinja


    “De reeks bizarre foto’s zijn in handen van kunstenaar Mariken Wessels (1963) beland. Met deze foto’s heeft zij, rondom de belangrijke momenten in het leven van Queen Ann, zorgvuldig en chronologisch haar levensverhaal gecomponeerd in de vorm van een kunstenaarsroman. […] ‘Zeker, ergens voel ik mij een “koningin”, luidt het cynische bijschrift onder een van haar foto’s. Ze mag zich dan geen beautyqueen hebben gevoeld, maar Mariken Wessels heeft haar toch koningin van haar eigen leven weten te maken. Ze heeft haar levensverhaal in dit boek zo mooi geregisseerd dat we stiekem allemaal een beetje jaloers kijken naar Queen Ann…”

  10. Grant Willing


    “I got Mariken Wessel’s new book a couple of weeks ago and have been looking through it quite a bit since then. It is a great follow up to her last book, Elisabeth – I want to eat. […]After seeing both of these books by Mariken, I’m really excited to see what will come next…”

  11. Shane Lavalette


    “Another excellent book by Mariken Wessels…”

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