~ by Barbara van den Bogaard
‘I’m a visual artist, but at birthday parties and on official documents I call myself a photographer.’
Annegien van Doorn is a Dutch photographer or Visual Artist when you meet her outside of birthday parties. I speak with her on a sunny day in April. She just published her new work Biophilia.
The image she shares with Storybook is part of Biophilia, the new work of Annegien. This series is about our distorted relationship with nature. Annegien poses an important question:
“We have always tried to integrate nature-inspired elements in our immediate environment, but in recent years it seems like it has been becoming more of a hype. Besides the many plants in modern homes, offices and shopping centres, you are bound to find prints of plants on walls of restaurants, metro stations and in the dentist’s waiting room. There are fences made with ivy print and waste containers with colourful flowers on them. In almost every household you’ll find objects that are imitations of fruit, flowers or animals like a flamingo shaped lamp, a kitchen timer in the form of an egg or a flyswatter that looks like a sunflower. But why do we like to be surrounded with objects that are colourful or green and give us an apparent nature experience?
When I talked to Annegien about her project and when I saw the images and listened to her question and the search she is doing to find the answers, what struck me is her humor. I am always so impressed when people are able to address serious topics with a light and humoristic approach. It makes what Annegien tries to say in her work so accessible. When we continue our conversation she explains to me her worry:
“Biophilia, which in Greek literally means love for life, refers to the primal necessity of humans to feel connected to nature. Recent scientific studies show that nature or natural elements in our environment contribute to our mental and physical well-being. In fact, one tree, one plant or even a picture of a tree is enough to help us become more productive and creative. But won‘t we get further and further away from nature if we can meet our primal need with a photo print of a waterfall or a cactus-shaped lamp? And what does our current connection to nature say about us ‘modern’ humans?”
Reflecting on these questions I notice how I can’t come up with the answers. I have to wonder about them a little while longer. Maybe I can use the blanc pages in my own Storybook (once it is there) to capture my thoughts and give them some structure, some story.
Thank you Annegien for being part of Storybook.
Want to know more about Annegien and about her work?
> Website: www.annegienvandoorn.com
> Instagram: @annegienvandoorn