Welcome to Marwencol by Mark E. Hogancamp

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In 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 artist's 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.

About Mark E. Hogancamp

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Mark Hogancamp and Marwencol have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Psychology Today, Huffington Post, Denver Post, Oakland Tribune, Austin Chronicle, and dozens of other magazines and newspapers, making this a truly national story about the restorative effects of art.
Published November 3, 2015 by Princeton Architectural Press. 278 pages
Genres: History, Arts & Photography, Biographies & Memoirs.

Unrated Critic Reviews for Welcome to Marwencol

This cowritten memoir is a remarkable portrait of a rich imaginative life—one that was rebuilt after a brutal physical assault. Hogancamp lost many cognitive and physical abilities after a vicious attack outside a bar in Kingston, NY. It took months of physical therapy before he was able to regai...

Dec 17 2015 | Read Full Review of Welcome to Marwencol