Over the past two decades, Frieke Janssens (born in Bruges, 1980) has built up a solid reputation both at home and abroad for her striking, staged photography, stemming from her imagination rather than reality. Much like a painter with their canvas, her studio is where she is able to fully control all photographic parameters, such as light, composition, models, setting and background.

From her homeland to New York, Chicago, LA, Bilbao and beyond, audiences are drawn to her unique use of visual imagery, as seen through her series ‘The Smoking Kids’, ‘DiANAS’ and ‘Animalcoholics’. While aesthetically Janssens’ oeuvres do appear innocent at first sight, multiple layers of deeper meaning can be deciphered upon closer inspection.

This is equally the case when it comes to her upcoming exhibition in Knokke-Heist, comprising a new series featuring floating subjects providing a cathartic exploration of humankind, its yearning for escapism and the individual search for meaning. It is no coincidence that some of these images refer to Catholicism, given that the Bible and faith have often served as a source of reassurance for those seeking the meaning of life. However, as traditional religion loses ground, people crave other methods to make sense of the ‘unbearable lightness of existence’. As such, they seek refuge in earthly pleasures: love, wealth, eternal youth, family, but also drink, drugs, etc. The sea, with its eternal ebb and flow, provides the background.