There Must Be More To Life – a multimedia project featuring Amanda Lepore by photography artist Elias Wessel

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 (ISBN 978-3-939028-40-6) has just been released by the german publishing house Norman Beckmann (NBVD).

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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. Wessel’s work initially appeared in such magazines as Vixen, W, Vogue Italia, Art. Das Kunstmagazin, The New York Times, Lush, H-Magazine, iLove Magazine, Digital Photo Pro, BLICKFANG. 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.

Available at NBVD publishing house, stationers or online booksellers.

About the Artist

Elias Wessel’s interest in street art developed into something serious for him after meeting legendary artist Sigmar Polke at his exhibition »Die drei Lügen der Malerei« (The Three Lies of Painting) at the Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle in Bonn 1997. Inspired by Polke’s paintings, Wessel began studying fine art and art history. A study-related stay in Hamburg and Paris brought him closer to fashion- and art photography, which gradually initiated his career as an artist. Since 2005, Wessel has been living and working in New York. More than any other place, the city offers him the option to permanently push the limits of his experience. Since his arrival, Wessel is focusing to develop his visual language and its symbolic characteristics. Through his images he is continuously searching for new perspectives to show how perception, interpretation, and evaluation of the world can lead to transformation and change.


Title: There Must Be More To Life / Es muss im Leben mehr als alles geben
Artist: Elias Wessel
Languages: English / German
Prefaces: Ignacio Oreamuno, Meghan Dailey
Concept: Elias Wessel, Philipp Hubert
Design: Hubert & Fischer, New York
Publisher: NBVD, Norman Beckmann Verlag & Design, Hamburg
ISBN: 978-3-939028-40-6
Size: 24 x 34 cm (Cardboard book), 22 x 32 cm (Textbook)
Volume: 26 pages (Cardboard book), 24 pages (Textbook)
Finishing: Cardboard book with two rounded edges, Textbook
Price: $ 38.90