Marcel Feil, Cobra Museum
Some time ago Judith van IJken met the American woman Leslie Grant. She is also a photographer. Yet Grant lives in New York. The more they got to know each other the more similarities their lives seemed to be having; they both work as photographers and teach at an art academy. Bookshelves seemed to be a copy of each other, yet a Dutch and an American variant, as well as the kitchen, the pets and the living room. Judith van IJken and Leslie Grant are leading parallel lives on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
This is the starting point for the project of Van IJken, in which she plays with the question to what extent an individual life is unique. By visually combining the two lives, Van IJken investigates the status of individual identity and the rules it most follow. Especially in nowadays society the individual is more and more considered to be a stand-alone entity and is no longer mostly regarded as part of a bigger context. By using different photographic strategies Van IJken creates a parallel universe in which above all the rules of the work seem to apply. This creates space for reflection and a critical consideration of reality.
By reacting in different photographic strategies upon the image of the individual the work also questions the status of the photographic portrait. Is the final result a portrait of Judith van IJken, of Leslie Grant, of both or of neither one of them?