Mark Hogancamp is a photographer and storyteller, but prefers to think of himself as a film director. He’s the creator of Marwencol, a 1/6 scale, WWII-era Belgian village in which he stages and photographs a complex narrative of Nazi intrigue, lesbian melodrama, and Sgt. Rock-style heroics. With his immense cast of dolls, Mark freely intermixes history and fantasy, allowing Kurt Russell to confront Goebbels, time-traveling witches to antagonize Hitler, and Mark himself to battle personal demons.
On April 8, 2000, Mark Hogancamp was attacked outside of a bar by five men who beat him nearly to death. After nine days in a coma and 40 days in the hospital, Hogancamp was discharged with brain damage that left him little memory of his previous life. Unable to afford therapy, Hogancamp created his own by building a 1/6-scale World War II-era Belgian town called Marwencol in his yard and populating it with dolls representing himself, his friends, and his attackers. In the ensuing years, Hogancamp has rehabilitated his physical wounds by building from scratch the town’s structures and meticulously customizing the small dolls and props; he has come to terms with his psychological ones by involving these figures in elaborate and often violent narratives related to his attack and recovery. Hogancamp’s photographs of the town debuted in ESOPUS 5 in 2005; he was the subject of ESOPUS subscriber Jeff Malmberg’s critically acclaimed documentaryMarwencol in 2010. In 2013, filmmaker Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump, Cast Away) announced that he would direct a feature film based on Hogancamp’s life and work from a script written by Caroline Thompson (Edward Scissorhands) starring Steve Carell as Mark. The release date is set for November 2018.
Hogancamp has exhibited his work at a number of institutions, including White Columns, NY, Allouche Gallery, NY, One Mile Gallery, Kingston, NY, and the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art in New Paltz, NY. He is represented by One Mile Gallery in Kingston, NY.