I Am Thirteen

Aug. 31, 2019 – Oct. 27, 2019 This exhibition has ended
Get a glimpse into the lives of Rotterdam thirteen-year-olds in the exhibition ‘I Am Thirteen’. Commissioned by the Rotterdams Beeldfonds, for six months the photographers Sanne Donders and Jet van Schie followed a group of thirteen-year-olds on their way to adulthood; boys and girls who will be co-determining the image of the city in the future. Some of these teenagers are already shaping opinions and identities of their own, while others still seem to be naïve and insecure adolescents. The photographs show their search during this challenging phase in their development.

In an intimate way, Sanne Donders’ photo series reveals the great variations in the teenagers’ interests that are so typical of this age group. She zooms in on the daily lives of these young people, following every one of them for one full day, from getting up to going to sleep. In her efforts to capture the identity of the thirteen-year-olds, she appears to be moving around them like a shadow. One of them – just woken up – is portrayed while sleepily looking into the camera, his cuddly toys still under his arm. Another one is interrupting a bra-fitting session to make a selfie with her friends, who are with her in the fitting room.

In her analogue black and white photographs, Jet van Schie is searching for the tranquillity of the moment, and combines her images with the selfies the boys and girls are posting on Instagram. This leads to high-contrast combinations that make the viewer aware of the duality young people are often faced with in their lives. Cosily sitting on the sofa with his dad and little brother and watching television at home, while simultaneously posting a photograph of himself in a cool pose with friends on social media.

Both series show the differences and singularities, but also the many similarities between these adolescents growing up. The population study Generation R of the Erasmus MC and the Erasmus University Rotterdam has already been following the growth and development of the now-thirteen-year-olds since before they were born. The results of the study are part of the exhibition ‘I Am Thirteen’.

Sanne Donders

Rotterdam forms the context and overriding theme of the work of Sanne Donders (1982). Since 2013, she has been making ‘from-getting-up-till-going-to-sleep-photo-reports’ of Rotterdam residents. For example, she followed the eighty-year-old mister Redan who is still working as a bicycle repairman; the eleven-year-old Nadir who wants to become football player Messi; and five-year-old twins on a voyage of discovery. For her series about the artist Eveline Ketterings, Donders won the Silver Camera Award 2016 in the Art, Culture and Entertainment category. Through her photo reports, Sanne Donders wants to show the city of Rotterdam and its inhabitants from a different perspective.

Jet van Schie

Since her graduation from the Willem de Kooning Academy, Jet van Schie (1981) has been focusing on the fantasy world, and how it is expressed in real life. She wonders where reality ends and fantasy begins. Van Schie is researching this by taking photographs of cosplayers, miniature worlds in front gardens, but also of fake flowers in cemeteries.

The exhibition is also made possible by Stichting Volkskracht, Stichting De Verre Bergen, Erasmusstichting, Generation R and ‘Science Meets City’, the programme organised on the occasion of the 105th anniversary of the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

See also


2. Sanne Donders, Isaura(1)_Ik ben dertien_Kunsthal Rotterdam.jpg
Sanne Donders, Isaura(1), Rotterdam 2019, photo © Sanne Donders
3. Sanne Donders, Isaura(2)_Ik ben dertien_Kunsthal Rotterdam.jpg
Sanne Donders, Isaura(2), Rotterdam 2019, foto © Sanne Donders
Jet van Schie, Mano, Rotterdam 2019, foto © Jet van Schie
Jet van Schie, Veere, Rotterdam 2019, foto © Jet van Schie