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One Guy's Self-Help Project Is Another Guy's Outsider Art in "Marwencol"

In 2000, Mark Hogancamp, an upstate New York resident, was beaten outside a bar by four men so badly that he incurred a brain injury and woke up to a life he barely remembered. Seriously disabled mentally, he has existed since by mopping floors and making diner meatballs in his destitute little trailer town. Having run out of insurance for therapy, Hogancamp reverted to a childhood impulse and began building a miniature town in his yard, simulating a World War II Belgian village filled with action figures of GIs, Nazis, vamps, brutes, barmaids, and simulacra of his friends, relatives, and neighbors. Enraptured by his idealized world, Hogancamp began photographing it and was soon discovered as an artist, a primitive born out of trauma. Marwencol possesses exactly the sort of mysterious and almost holy experience you hope to get from documentaries and rarely do.


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