Eleven years ago, Navy veteran Mark Hogancamp was bashed into a coma by five men outside a bar for wearing women’s clothing. He survived, awoke nine days later, but lost his memory. An artist, he lost the ability to draw.
As a way to cope with his new life after the attack, Hogancamp built a Nazi-besieged, World War II era town in his backyard at 1/6 scale and resurrected his childhood love for action figures. He populated the model town with miniature alter egos of him and his friends. Each one is a personality in his anachronistic narratives, which he tells through staged photographs that read like frames in a comic book. …
“There was one rule in my town,” says Hogancamp, “That [people] be friends, be friendly with each other, behave. So they did, they were.”
The initial cordiality between Nazi and Allied Forces soon gave way to kidnappings and gun fights. For more than a decade, 1/6 scale dolls have played out existential and therapeutic stories of love and war, friendship and enmity, heroism and cowardice, and desire and restraint. In some cases, the stories of Marwencol mirror reality, sometimes they’re purely fantasy; usually they blur the two.