Mariken Wessels’ new project — comprising sculpture, photography and film — focuses on the obese body in motion and the animalistic aspects of the human body. The artist found original inspiration for her new work in a photogravure she had acquired from Muybridge’s photo series Human and Animal Locomotion, namely ‘Arising from the Ground’ (plate 286, 1885). This study in the (uncommon) movement of an obese person got Wessels interested in gravity, weight(lessness), human motion and the material qualities of the human body. Muybridge’s photographs came to stand model for four lifesize ceramic sculptures of the obese body made by Wessels during a residency at the EKWC in Oisterwijk in 2018. For the photographic part of the project, Wessels has produced photographs and film recordings of obese models swimming underwater as well as models falling headfirst into water.
The large sculptures will be presented on low pedestals. The sculptural installation will be surrounded with Wessels’ photo series and film fragments.
The artist is also working on an artist’s book based on the materials produced for this project, including research notes and images, and the source(s) of inspiration.
Amsterdam-based artist Mariken Wessels (NL, 1963) creates artist’s books, sculptures, installations, photo series and film works. Her multilayered projects offer poignant picture stories, combining appropriated (vernacular) imagery and self-produced images, usually featuring female protagonists struggling with life.