Mariken Wessels (Vlaardingen, 1963) studied acting at the Amsterdam Theatre School. After a decade-long career in acting, she studied visual art at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, after which she established an independent artist’s practice. Her work comprises artist’s books, photography and film works, as well as installations and sculptures. Since 2017 Wessels has been working on a large-scale project inspired by a sequence from the Human and Animal Locomotion studies by Eadward Muybridge. This new work encompasses sculpture, photography, film, and (artist’s) books related to the themes of corporality, movement, and weight(lessness). In 2018 she worked as artist-in-residence at the European Ceramic Work Center (EKWC) in Oisterwijk, the Netherlands.
Taking Off. Henry my Neighbor, her most recent artist’s book, was published in 2015 with Art Paper Editions to international acclaim. The book was awarded an honorary appreciation at the Leipzig Book Fair (Best Book Design from all over the World, 2016), won the Author Book Award at Les Rencontres d’Arles (2016) and has been included in the selection for Best Book Designs from the Netherlands and Flanders (2015). This artist’s book constitutes the third part of an open trilogy exploring the self-image in amateur photography on the borderline of the public and the private. The other parts are Elisabeth—I want to eat (self-published, 2008) and Queen Ann. P.S. Belly cut off (Alauda Publications, 2010).
Taking Off was exhibited in various spatial arrangements at the Nederlands Fotomuseum Rotterdam (2016), as solo show at Fotomuseum Antwerp (2016), as part of Photo Oxford (2017), and within the context of the trilogy, as part of a large solo show, at the The Hague Museum of Photography (2017).
Wessels’ works and artist’s books have been collected by museums, libraries and private collectors worldwide, among them the Centre Pompidou (Paris), ICP and MoMA (New York), Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), Fotomuseum Antwerp (Belgium), and the Verbeke Foundation (Belgium).