The series Being there was created during an artist in residency in Sri Lanka. Sofie Knijff has worked intensively at different locations in Sri Lanka for the past 4 years which resulted in close contact with local people and their way of life.
Knijff started her work in Sri Lanka in 2016 for the development of her series “Tales” for which she researched fairy tales in different cultures and asked the children in Sri Lanka to portray their dream characters. It was through this collaboration that she came up with the idea of not just photographing the children frontally. The decoration for the photoshoots (which the children took care of themselves) was often so detailed; beautiful dresses and elaborate haircuts, that it became clear to her that every detail and attitude of the person told a specific story. The focus in this exhibition is on the clothing and structure – on form and alliteration within the image.
From this point a new step manifested itself in her work – the series “Being there”. in which Knijff photographed surroundings, landscape and objects with the same intensity and concentration as in her portraits.
Environment, landscape and object are in contact and in contrast with the portrait and the character of the portrayed which is still present in this series.
Based in Amsterdam, Dutch-Belgian photographer Sofie Knijff mixes documentary techniques with staged settings to create dreamlike images in which the real and fictional become difficult to distinguish. Drawing on her background as a theatrical performer, Knijff crafts dramatized simulacra that reveal unseen truths behind what is seen—realities that can be felt or intuited are illustrated as though they are real. This fascination with identity, performance, and theatricality suggests questions as to the ultimate nature of self. Who are we, and how did we become that way? What aspects of identity are a mask, and what is the truth behind them?