Hellen van Meene’s exhibition at De Kabinetten van De Vleeshal was her first solo presentation in the Netherlands. In 1999 Van Meene had won the Charlotte Khler prize for young artists.
Hellen van Meene’s exhibition in The Kabinetten van De Vleeshal dovetailed Pipilotti Rist’s concurrent presentation in De Vleeshal. Van Meene photographs young adolescent girls on the borderline between childhood and womanhood. The models’ bodies are beginning to show female curves, but their faces have not yet lost their childlike features. Although they strike adult poses their inexperience makes their postures slightly awkward. This mix of budding womanhood and still dormantly present child makes viewers feel somewhat uncomfortable. Their sense of unease is heightened by the bruises, scores and fat rolls on the models’ bodies, sometimes accentuated by the girls pinching themselves.