Between Surreal Dreams and Reality
words AICHA PILMEYER
This fall, Foam Museum in Amsterdam presents the debut solo exhibition of the celebrated Dutch photographer, Carlijn Jacobs, titled Sleeping Beauty. Bridging the fields of fashion and art, Jacobs creates surrealistic worlds that, in her own words, ‘beautify reality’. With the help of designs by Dutch artist, Sabine Marcelis, the exhibition invites the viewer to take a trip into the subconscious.
Jacobs has photographed famous figures, including Beyonce and Kim Kardashian, and collaborated with leading fashion brands like Chanel and Louis Vuitton. But it is in her free work that her unique style comes into play.
She was just fourteen when she bought her first camera. While studying at the Willem de Kooning Academy, she quickly caught everyone’s attention with her fresh take on mass culture. After she graduated, Foam showcased her as an up-and-coming talent in their Foam 3h project space in 2016. Now, she is one of the most sought after photographers in the fashion industry, working alongside the biggest names.
Jacobs is fascinated by the idea of masks. ‘You hide behind something and can become someone else,’ she explains. She sees the fashion world as a form of escapism, a place where you can play with shaping new identities. This is expressed in her work, which feels alienating but reflects the zeitgeist of today. With social media puncturing our eyes day and night, it is easy to get lost in the online world and all its personas. Through Jacobs’ lens, intriguing characters emerge, leading us into their individual stories.
Inspired by the visual language of the 1980s and 1990s she combines different art styles in her own unique ways. With its merging of vivid colors and eerie surrealistic undertones, her work draws you into an estranged cinematic dimension. Her pictures capture the complexity of our lives in a fresh way. Defying the fashion norm, she seeks peculiarity over perfection.
Unconstrained by the ordinary, she is exploring the possibilities of artificial intelligence, expanding her methodology in uncharted territories. Playing with this new technology fuels her imagination, turning the unimaginable into reality and resulting in visuals reminiscent of a captivating but slightly unsettling dream.
As Carlijn Jacobs continues to redefine the boundaries of fashion photography, her visionary lens invites us to explore the surreal.
Sleeping Beauty will be on show from October 6th until January 2024. You can book your tickets online here