Hellen Van Meene
Hellen van Meene’s photograph is an illuminating example of this young Dutch photographer’s practice of portraiture. The young woman looks away from the viewer, her body contorted, as if frozen in a movement to shield herself from invading gazes. Light streams through a window from outside the picture, falling softly on her pale skin. It highlights not only her dyed blond hair but also her shoulder blade, oddly jutting out, unsettling the contour and emphasizing her thin frame. The partial shadow reveals the texture of the skin, including goose pimples and the deep impression of a bra.
Like her fellow Dutch portraitist Rineke Dijkstra, van Meene focuses on transitional states, usually, in van Meene's case, the pubescent girl, her vulnerability and doubts, poised somewhere between childhood and womanhood. As with many of van Meene's subjects, this adolescent has been posed by the artist to play a role. Interested in the dramatic potential of portraiture, in the tradition of artists such as Julia Margaret Cameron and Claude Cahun, van Meene does not intend to objectively document her subjects nor to catch their personalities, but rather, with the help of her models, to create a certain mood. Selecting subjects among young people she knows in her neighborhood as well as teenagers she meets on the street when traveling, van Meene carefully stages her pictures. Usually set in a shallow space, close to the picture plane, the models are prepared down to the smallest detail: make-up; wardrobe, if any; the pose; the direction of the gaze. And in this case, the little flower that just makes it into the picture in the lower right corner.
11 3/4 x 11 3/4 in. (29.8 x 29.8 cm) (show scale)
Emily Winthrop Miles Fund
This item is not on view
Hellen Van Meene (Dutch, born 1972). Untitled #180, 2000. Chromogenic photograph, 11 3/4 x 11 3/4 in. (29.8 x 29.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Emily Winthrop Miles Fund, 2007.12. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Photograph courtesy of the artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery, CUR.2007.12_Yancey_Richardson_Gallery_photo.jpg)
. Photograph courtesy of the artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery, 2008
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
© Hellen Van Meene
The Brooklyn Museum holds a non-exclusive license to reproduce images of this work of art from the rights holder named here.
The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act.
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If you wish to contact the rights holder for this work, please email email@example.com
and we will assist if we can.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.