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 >

FIAC 2019
October 17–20, 2019
The 46th Edition of FIAC will host a carefully curated selection of galleries of modern and contemporary art, together...
+
Lucian Freud: The Self-portraits
Oct 27, 2019 – Jan 26, 2020
Spanning nearly seven decades, his self-portraits give a fascinating insight into both his psyche and his development as a...
+
ARTPIL / Prescription .102
So Suddenly Autumn
We are making our rounds, currently posted in Lille, France, former European Capital of Culture, home of the recently...
+
extraORDINAIRE
Oct 12 – Dec 15, 2019
This program reveals how photographers, artists, and others have appropriated the medium to record, question, and even glorify the...
+
Berlin Photo Week 2019
October 10–13, 2019
Berlin Photo Week brings photography to life celebrates the love of photography, art, and technology, with events throughout the...
+
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
October 3 – January 13, 2020
This exhibition demonstrates Kirchner’s seminal importance in the development of the Expressionist movement in Germany, beginning with his years...
+
Vienna Art Book Fair
October 4–6, 2019
Featuring over 150 exhibitors from 18 countries, the accompanying program includes exhibitions, performances, book presentations, artists’ talks, readings, panels,...
+
Eating Flowers
Sensations of Cig Harvey
Spanning photography, video, mixed media and the written word, Harvey’s creative practice explores physical and emotional boundaries of the...
+
FIAC 2019
October 17–20, 2019
The 46th Edition of FIAC will host a carefully curated selection of galleries of modern and contemporary art, together...
+
Lucian Freud: The Self-portraits
Oct 27, 2019 – Jan 26, 2020
Spanning nearly seven decades, his self-portraits give a fascinating insight into both his psyche and his development as a...
+
ARTPIL / Prescription .102
So Suddenly Autumn
We are making our rounds, currently posted in Lille, France, former European Capital of Culture, home of the recently...
+
extraORDINAIRE
Oct 12 – Dec 15, 2019
This program reveals how photographers, artists, and others have appropriated the medium to record, question, and even glorify the...
+
Berlin Photo Week 2019
October 10–13, 2019
Berlin Photo Week brings photography to life celebrates the love of photography, art, and technology, with events throughout the...
+
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
October 3 – January 13, 2020
This exhibition demonstrates Kirchner’s seminal importance in the development of the Expressionist movement in Germany, beginning with his years...
+
Vienna Art Book Fair
October 4–6, 2019
Featuring over 150 exhibitors from 18 countries, the accompanying program includes exhibitions, performances, book presentations, artists’ talks, readings, panels,...
+
Eating Flowers
Sensations of Cig Harvey
Spanning photography, video, mixed media and the written word, Harvey’s creative practice explores physical and emotional boundaries of the...
+