Artbook »There Must Be More To Life« by Elias Wessel feat. Amanda Lepore
Elias Wessel is one of the most remarkable young german artists, who use the large format photograph as means of expression. The main focus of the New York based photographer lies within a wide range of staged photography. In »There Must be More To Life«, exhibited September 2012 in New York City, the artist cooperates with the transexual superstar Amanda Lepore and creates a dialogue, which becomes a larger narrative about self-discovery and reinvention. The accompanying artbook has just been released by the german publishing house Norman Beckmann (NBVD).
In November 2011 at the Jane Hotel in New York City, the transgender superstar Amanda Lepore performed in front of Elias Wessel’s camera. The images, in which Lepore appears alternately humorous, mournful, glamourous, innocent, and sexy, are the central part of Wessel’s highly personal multimedia project »There Must be More To Life«. The large-scale color images of Lepore had been exhibited for its first time at the Art Directors Club Gallery in New York, September 2012. Opposed to video elements, including a clip from Sesame Street, the work creates a dialogue that becomes a larger narrative about self-discovery and reinvention.
This is also the story of the artist’s own self discovery: »There Must be More To Life« is something of a culmination of the varied aesthetic and intellectual interests that Wessel has been accumulating for the past several years in his highly original (fashion-) photographs. At the latest with »There Must be More To Life« his images are transcending the mechanics of the genre which recently led into exhibitions in art galleries and at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei.
The artbook conceptualized as a children-picture book in close cooperation between the artist and book designer Philipp Hubert at Hubert & Fischer, depicts the interdependency of the projects aesthetic and its content. It documents a meticulously staged and complex work, its mood and mystery in an astonishing aesthetic quality, prompting the viewer to ask questions: who is this woman and why is she here? The answers to those questions are revealed by sustained looking and the accompanying textbook which includes a foreword by Ignacio Oreamuno (Executive Director and Curator of the Art Directors Club Gallery, New York), a preface by Art Critic Meghan Daley and an interview with Amanda Lepore, who in Wessel’s photographs becomes an incredibly poignant and powerful figure, at once vulnerable and unbreakable.
»There Must be More To Life« stands in the tradition of photography as a transfer medium of cultural or social discourses, whereas each image contains a narrative moment. It marks a paradigm change in Elias Wessel’s work and is full of details, quotes and references.
Facts: Languages: English / German, Artist: Elias Wessel, Prefaces: Ignacio Oreamuno, Meghan Dailey, Concept: Elias Wessel, Philipp Hubert, Design: Hubert & Fischer, Publisher: Norman Beckmann Verlag & Design (NBVD), ISBN: 978-3-939028-40-6, Size: 24×34 cm (Cardboard book), 22×32 cm (Textbook), Volume: 26 pages (Cardboard book), 24 pages (Textbook), Finishing: Cardboard book with two rounded edges, Textbook