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Hellen van Meene

Dutch, born 1972

© Hellen van Meene, Courtesy of the Artist and the Yancey Richardson Gallery. Photograph by Tom Loonan

Untitled #319, St. Petersburg, Russia, 2008

Chromogenic print, edition 9/10
11 x 11 inches (27.9 x 27.9 cm)
George B. and Jenny R. Mathews Fund, by exchange, 2012

Hellen van Meene’s oeuvre is defined by her carefully staged portraits of adolescents, color photographs mostly of teenaged girls and androgynous boys.  Empathetic to her young models’ openness and vulnerability before the camera, van Meene creates formal compositions in which the choreographed poses of her subjects seem to palpably capture coming-of-age moments. The scenarios she constructs are imbued with an air of stillness and intimacy, which is heightened by van Meene’s use of daylight as the sole source of illumination in her photographs. 

An ineffable sense of tension is produced by the small-scale format of her work. Modest in size, van Meene’s prints rarely exceed fifteen by fifteen inches. These intimate images compel the viewer to personally interact with them and, which in turn, enhances their quiet, enigmatic power. Van Meene’s awareness of the large impact of small size is revealed in the artist’s own words: “the small photo demands more attention, it demands for you to look more closely so you don’t miss a thing.”

The Gallery also recently acquired van Meene’s Untitled #318, St. Petersburg, Russia, 2008; Untitled #366, Moscow, Russia, 2010; Untitled #366a, Moscow, Russia, 2010; and Untitled #367, Moscow, Russia, 2010.

MORE ABOUT THE ARTIST

Born in 1972 in Alkmaar, The Netherlands, van Meene has exhibited widely, and her work may be found in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago; Brooklyn Museum; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; High Museum of Art;  Miami Art Museum;  Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.