​Carlijn Jacobs and Sabine Marcelis create a surreal fantasy at Foam, Amsterdam

Photographer Carlijn Jacobs has united with Sabine Marcelis on the design of her first solo exhibition, at Foam, Amsterdam

From the album cover of Beyoncé's Renaissance to fashion campaigns, Dutch photographer Carlijn Jacobs’ work is in demand, her fantastical distortions of reality depicting a world that doesn’t yet exist. Now, Jacobs has united with designer Sabine Marcelis on the design of her first solo photography exhibition, ‘Sleeping Beauty’, at Foam, Amsterdam, presenting existing work and debuting new pieces.

‘I really liked working in a more 3D way,’ says Jacobs of the dreamlike space at Foam. ‘For the first room, I used a mirroring floor. This is duplicating the work on the walls and gives a surreal effect to the space. It plays with the senses in a way that makes it quite challenging to watch your step, as coloured glass cubes by Sabine Marcelis are placed on the floor and blend in so well that it puts everything upside down; it’s mesmerising.’

Jacobs plays with perceptions, creating a fantasy world for the viewer. ‘The photographs on the wall are tilting towards the viewer, like they are coming right at you. It’s inspired by old castles where they used to hang their paintings on wires, which makes them tilt. When you enter the second room, there is a video with a circle shape, being played in a loop with a model following onto a bed – a beauty that keeps falling asleep, so to say. The circle shape resonates with a curved wall and one of Sabine Marcelis’ ‘Boa’ poufs placed on the floor.

‘As such, this exhibition echoes itself and comes with many surprises. I and Mirjam Kooiman, the curator, were trying to replicate the different corners of my brain, so to say: each room we created is a world on its own, altogether representing my creative universe. Like, you do a little walk through my brain, through my dreams. When you enter the vernissage, there are on both sides mirrors from Sabine where you can see yourself almost infinitely. There are 18 small prints in the hallway, presenting a dreamlike world that I created through mixing my own photographs with AI. The windows have coloured foil, which creates an interesting play of light.

‘In the final room, there is a mix of different works hanging in a more chaotic yet constructed way – salon-style, resonating with the nostalgic feel of the photographs displayed here – together with a champagne-coloured illuminated totem by Sabine.’

Jacobs draws on her travels when creating this alternative reality, intertwining references to geishas with the masquerade of Venice’s yearly carnival. ‘Within my fashion work I kind of do the same thing, we free ourselves from reality through masquerade,’ she adds. ‘As this was my first solo show; the most challenging thing was making final decisions, ruling out all other options.’