A young woman floating motionless in a lake. The light that falls through the tops of the trees near the shore runs into shimmering puddles on the water. Blossoms of wild flowers are sliding on the surface. Is the young woman dead? Is she alive? Her eyes are open anyway. With her “Ophelia” series Kirsten Becken shows a scene whose representation in the visual arts has a long history: the death of Ophelia, driven to madness by the suffering that has befallen her. Actually saves Shakespeare’s Hamlet (the drama, the image is borrowed from) the actual scene: Shakespeare does not need it for continuation of his drama. It is the impact that the death of Ophelia in Hamlet, more important than the moment in which the death takes place. It is the impact that the death of Ophelia in Hamlet, more important than the moment in which the death takes place. And so generations of mostly male artists have dabbled themselves in the moment of her death and thus savored the excitement that lies in the forbidden rendezvous of death and eroticism: the mad young woman with fey expression that is no longer in need of her body because her spirit almost lies close to afterlife. And Beckens images? Distressed in the game with the necrophiliac taboo? We see Ophelia as she confidently wades into the water (in Shakespeare in a modification of the course of events). We see Ophelia in a bathing suit. Ophelia in the bathtub. Ophelia seems to enjoy the water that flows around her. The feminist theory always had trouble with Ophelia. Because Ophelia is in many ways the ultimate female victim: Plaything in the network of powerful men, she falls victim to the madness, as the network breaks in. Against this background, Becken creates images as alternative draft to a mode of thinking that equates femininity and weakness. Beckens Ophelia represents a generation of young women who do not have to deny their femininity in order to be strong. She uses Ophelia as a confident personality that can at any moment decide differently and emerge from the water. Among the pictures is one in which we look ahead to two Ophelia. It is worthwhile to linger long in their eyes. Yes, they seem to say, we are women. We are sensual and desirable – and we know it. But if we go into the water, for a photograph. And certainly not for a man.