One day Martha discovered Henry’s world, in which she saw herself multiplied infinitely. After overcoming her feelings of shame, she threw thousands of photographs out of the window and disappeared forever.
Without Martha, Henry began to live as a hermit. He cut up his remaining photographs into collages and used them as models for clay figurines. One day, out of the blue, he decided to give up photography and disappeared into the woods of New Jersey, where he set up animal traps and practised survival skills.
Henry left behind around 5500 nude photographs of Martha – his wife and muse – 50 collages and 17 clay figurines.
After Martha’s abandonment, Henry recombines the parts of her body, enacting a symbolic death of his wife and generating from her breasts and legs an army of tentacled monsters. The clay sculptures complete the process of abstraction: Martha remains a disembodied breast-phallus.
The book closes with images of the bodies of animals killed by the traps built by Henry in the forest. Carnal pleasures are definitively removed, and the body is reduced to a piece of raw meat dangling.
The author of the book is Mariken Wessels, a Dutch artist who discovered Henry’s archive during a trip to the United States. This book is the result of her re-reading of that archive.
This book has been selected as the winner of the Prix du Livre d’Autheur Arles 2016.