Annegien van Doorn: “Sometimes the real world turns out to be way more absurd”

“Children treat play as an absorbing and essential aspect of their everyday relation to the world,” says Dutch photographer Annegien van Doorn. “Why do we lose this natural playfulness when we grow up?”

Luckily for van Doorn, she seems to have escaped the cull; creating photographs, videos and installations with a sense of mischief. By disrupting the fabric of the everyday, she manages to draw attention to it, highlighting the apparently unremarkable conventions which both govern and reflect our lives. “The banal, the quotidian, the obvious, and the ordinary fascinate me,” she says. “How do we give meaning to our daily life? I am looking for the places we use [to] transform our surroundings from one day to another. The traces we leave behind to make changes that give form to our needs and desires. These interventions speak about who we are and who we want to be in this world.”

Born in The Netherlands in 1982, van Doorn graduated from the St Joost Art Academy in 2004, and the University of Barcelona, where she took her MA, in 2008. Her work has been shown in solo exhibitions at Espacio F and Espacio Menosuno in Madrid, Youkobo Art Space Tokyo and DeFKa in Assen, and she has worked with organisations such as the Goethe Institut and the KesselsKramer communications agency.

“With a very good eye for the ordinary, Annegien uses her camera to transform the familiar into something extraordinary,” says Erik Kessels. “She has the ability to make small events into monumental ones.”

Van Doorn seems equally at home with each of the media she uses, and says she sees no hierarchy between them – sometimes an installation will stand on its own, at other times she uses photography or video to help separate it from everyday life. She’s also happy to mix documentary and staged photography, playing with the boundary between the two. She argues it doesn’t matter if she or some unknown individual creates the intervention. “Sometimes it is the real world which turns out to be way more absurd or unbelievable than the fictive one,” she says. “I think that’s pretty exciting.”

See more of Annegien’s work here.

First published in the January 2014 issue. You can buy the issue here.