The Bird in Borrowed Feathers
Hellen van Meene

Hellen van Meene / James Freeman Gallery

James Freeman Gallery is pleased to present The Bird in Borrowed Feathers, a solo exhibition for the Dutch photographer Hellen van Meene. This will be Hellen’s first solo exhibition in London since 2008, and will place new works in context with a number of pieces from the past decade.

 

Hellen van Meene / James Freeman Gallery

Hellen van Meene / James Freeman Gallery

Hellen van Meene / James Freeman Gallery

Hellen van Meene is renowned worldwide for her distinctive photographic approach. Working in analogue and principally in small format, she focuses on the experiences of young people at the stage between adolescence and adulthood. It is a fragile space, full of uncertainty, and riven with the anxieties of change. Hellen finds glimpses into these intimate inner worlds and brings their fragility to light in ways that are sometimes surreal and unsettling, often uncomfortable and challenging, but always deeply sensitive and sincere.

 

Hellen van Meene / James Freeman Gallery

Hellen van Meene / James Freeman Gallery

Hellen van Meene / James Freeman Gallery

Hellen van Meene / James Freeman Gallery

Hellen finds glimpses into these intimate inner worlds and brings their fragility to light in ways that are sometimes surreal and unsettling…

Many of Hellen’s new works explore the use of animals as motifs. Pets – dogs, birds, rats – appear as emotional familiars for their uncertain friends. Butterflies, the perennial symbol of transformation, appear like a floating spirit over the skin of the model. So many of Hellen’s works are composed as small format interiors lit with milky natural light in a tradition that stretches back centuries to the Northern Renaissance. Within this context, the family pet appears as a kind of emotional support for children on the cusp of braving the outside world.

 

Hellen van Meene / James Freeman Gallery

Hellen van Meene / James Freeman Gallery

Hellen van Meene / James Freeman Gallery

Hellen van Meene / James Freeman Gallery

Materials and textiles are another echo from traditional Dutch painting that find expression in Hellen’s works. Young they may be, but many of her subjects are dressed in exquisite fabrics, which Hellen captures with crystalline detail. Often these stem from shoots for large fashion houses whereby, Cinderella-like, the clothes are loaned for just the day. In Hellen’s photos, the pleats are crisp, the billowing folds voluminous: material takes on a fetishistic quality in the rites of dressing up that her young women embark upon. It is also another means of capturing the sense of displacement that her subjects express: in almost every instance, the clothes seem to be something these young women are on the point of growing into, a promise of an as-yet unknown life. Hellen’s project it to capture that moment just before it comes to pass.

 

The Bird in Borrowed Feathers / Hellen van Meene
July 11 – August 3, 2019 / James Freeman Gallery
Visit the exhibition page >

International Women’s Day
March 8, 2020
Often our better halves, and with whom we could not be without, we renew our commitment to engage. Once...
+
Gerhard Richter: Painting After All
March 4 – July 5, 2020
This exhibit considers Richter's six decade long preoccupation with the dual means of representation and abstraction to explore the...
+
SHOW OFF: Austrian Fashion Design
February 14 – July 12, 2020
Time travel through fashion design from the 80s to today to view the wide spectrum of designers connected with...
+
Thirty Years of Women
February 7 – April 11, 2020
This exhibit draws from Jackson Fine Art’s 30 year history of showing some of the most distinguished female voices...
+
ARTPIL / Prescription .110
A Spectre is Haunting Europe
In fact take my body who will, take it I say, it is not me... And come a stove...
+
Asikainen, Chin, and Houghton
Jan 25 – Apr 26, 2020
BALTIC 39 is proud to present three solo exhibitions with artists Henna Asikainen, Kara Chin, and Ben Jeans Houghton....
+
Reading Time in Space
Modernism at mumok
This exhibit traces passages of time and artistic concepts, accounting the idea of an expanded concept of art, one...
+
Towards No Earthly Pole / Julian Charrière
January 31 – March 21, 2020
Filmed at night, the dazzling landscapes captured are dramatically lit by a spotlight carried on a drone; as light...
+
International Women’s Day
March 8, 2020
Often our better halves, and with whom we could not be without, we renew our commitment to engage. Once...
+
Gerhard Richter: Painting After All
March 4 – July 5, 2020
This exhibit considers Richter's six decade long preoccupation with the dual means of representation and abstraction to explore the...
+
SHOW OFF: Austrian Fashion Design
February 14 – July 12, 2020
Time travel through fashion design from the 80s to today to view the wide spectrum of designers connected with...
+
Thirty Years of Women
February 7 – April 11, 2020
This exhibit draws from Jackson Fine Art’s 30 year history of showing some of the most distinguished female voices...
+
ARTPIL / Prescription .110
A Spectre is Haunting Europe
In fact take my body who will, take it I say, it is not me... And come a stove...
+
Asikainen, Chin, and Houghton
Jan 25 – Apr 26, 2020
BALTIC 39 is proud to present three solo exhibitions with artists Henna Asikainen, Kara Chin, and Ben Jeans Houghton....
+
Reading Time in Space
Modernism at mumok
This exhibit traces passages of time and artistic concepts, accounting the idea of an expanded concept of art, one...
+
Towards No Earthly Pole / Julian Charrière
January 31 – March 21, 2020
Filmed at night, the dazzling landscapes captured are dramatically lit by a spotlight carried on a drone; as light...
+