Find yourself in a reality of perpetual slumber that ironically denies you a moment’s rest. Floors mirror and walls tilt, implying your presence has stirred the stillness of Foam Amsterdam. Within Carlijn Jacobs exhibition Sleeping Beauty, curated chaos comes alive as geishas, AI, and the Venetian carnival mingle, all while only scratching the surface of the photographer’s vast creative universe.
Should you be so greatly mistaken to think that you are unfamiliar to her work, just take a minute to observe your surroundings, and see that Jacob’s art is all around. It decorates Beyoncé’s Renaissance album cover, lends its surrealism to campaigns from Versace to Chanel, and has been featured in three editions of Vogue. Until January 21st, you can seize the opportunity to stroll through this fever dream where monotony dares not tread.
During Jacob’s time in university, she gained early recognition for her witty critiques of mass culture, setting the stage for her evolution into a photographer and director who, today, challenges modernism’s conservative definitions of art. This exhibition features a combination of autonomous work as well as commissions from various fashion brands. Complementing this showcase is Dutch artist and designer Sabine Marcelis, who infused the space with bespoke designs. In doing so, the artists jointly actualised their delusionary world.
Through Carlijn Jacobs’ lens, a nuanced portrayal of cultural convergence materializes, as she relates the Japanese geisha and the traditions of the Venetian carnival with contemporary expressions of beauty and fashion. In her own words: “I am fascinated by the idea of the mask. You hide behind something and can become someone else. The whole fashion world is actually a form of escapism: you create a new persona. Changing looks and combining the existing with something non-existent is something that plays a big role in my work. ‘Beautifying’ reality, and thus shaping a world that does not yet exist,” she states.
Jacobs is currently exploring the unbounded potentials of her imagination beyond the conceivable through artificial intelligence. Born from this exploration are images akin to “film stills of a strangely attractive nightmare.” This ethereal essence echoes and embeds within the exhibition, leaving us with a faint sense of caution, and a fervent eagerness to attend.