Van IJken graduated cum laude at the photography department of the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Utrecht. She continued her studies at the Rijksakademie van de Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. She exhibited her work in Amsterdam, The Hague but also in Shanghai, New York and Budapest. She received the honourable mention of the Steenbergen Stipend (prize for photography) Over the years she has published five books. Her photo book ‘Mimicry’ was selected ‘Best Photobook of 2010’ by Photo-eye Magazine. She combines her art practice with lectures and workshops at art schools such as St Joost Masters in Breda, Parsons School of Design in New York and with a teachingposition at The Royal Academy in The Hague.
The central theme in the photographic work of Van IJken is the relationship between individual and social identity. To what extent personal identity is determined by social context and to what extent each individual is capable of determining its own identity is an on-going question within the work.