Two girls in the grass. At the waterside. We see their naked backs, their hair in a plait and their hands graceful and beautifully mirrored as a point of support on the bank.
They sit with their feet in the water, it’s perhaps a warm day, though it is certainly not a cloudless sky, and they look into the distance – where incidentally there is nothing other to be seen than water, clouds and grass. At least one of them has been swimming, as the tip of her plait still drips down onto her back.
Immediately their postures give the impression they’re posing, but for who or for what? There is in fact nothing strange about two friends who for a moment sit together on the waters edge looking across to the other side. All but one detail: as everything described above can only be perceived after the surprise of this one detail has been digested. Why are the girls wearing these red and pink accessories on their heads? It’s a detail that draws unavoidable attention from the viewer and which in one way or another frames the image: these accessories from the fancy-dress shop, bunny rabbit ears for a children’s party or accessories that girls wear at parties to portray themselves as ambassadors of the men’s magazine Playboy, don’t belong in natures environment of grass, water and outdoor swimming. They load the image with a very different meaning: are they young girls who pretend to be older or are they grown women dressed up as children? Is it an innocent image from a children’s party at the waterside or are the women playing the provocateur through their posture, with their vulnerability and their Playboy-esk headdresses?
Without bunny rabbit ears, this image would be a snapshot of an afternoon swimming, with these ears it poses a question that confronts us with the way we view an image. With a seemingly small detail the essence of this image is turned on its head. Annegien van Doorn asserts that we should view images carefully.



Text: Anthon Fasel

Annegien van Doorn