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.
Selected by: ● Jörg M. Colberg
Dutch Photobooks selected in Photo-Eye's Best Books of 2010 Photography