Foto Knokke-Heist

From 26 March to 12 June, the Knokke-Heist Cultural Centre is premiering two new photography exhibitions, bringing together internationally renowned photographer Frieke Janssens, with her brand-new exhibition featuring floating subjects, and Servaas Van Belle, resident of Knokke-Heist and exceptional talent whose work captures a series of stables from across Belgium, culminating in a remarkable collection of architectural gems

Tickets can be ordered easily in the webshop of the municipality of Knokke-Heist.

Frieke Janssens (Bruges, 1980)

Over the past two decades, Frieke Janssens 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.

Compiled especially for Foto Knokke-Heist, this new photography collection is accompanied by a new photo book, published by Hannibal Books.

Servaas Van Belle (Knokke-Heist, 1978)

STAL – Vernacular Animal Sheds

‘A masterful mess’

STAL - Vernacular Animal Sheds is the first book by photographer Servaas Van Belle, a monographic reference work he took five years to complete. Travelling the length and breadth of Belgium, he searched for the most imaginative-looking stable buildings he could find, before capturing them all under the same ideal lighting conditions. For Van Belle, this entails dense fog.

Being so commonplace, as well as an obvious product of their environment and culture, stable buildings often go unnoticed. Yet these architectural gems form a characterful ensemble, with their architects being given a real carte blanche when it came to their individual design. As a result, the Belgian landscape is now adorned with stables in a whole host of shapes and sizes, made from various materials and boasting a diverse colour palette. With the ravages of time clearly visible, each tells a different story. Some of these structures would not be out of place in a museum. For his part, Servaas Van Belle has been involved in scrap metal for many years.

The impressive result can now be observed in his book STAL - Vernacular Animal Sheds, published by Hannibal Books, with extensive texts written by Stephan Vanfleteren.

Foto Knokke-Heist has the honour of hosting the first exhibition to feature a selection from this monograph.

‘An unprecedented ode to these anonymous, often maligned sculptures on a pedestal of wet grass in a field of incense.’ — Stephan Vanfleteren


Knokke-Heist Cultural Centre
Maxim Willemspad 1
8300 Knokke-Heist

Opening hours

26 March - 12 June 2022

Open every day 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Closed on Tuesdays.


€10 standard ticket

€8 Uitpas Knokke-Heist & Vlaanderen, under-26s, EDC holders, groups of over 10 people, members of Davidsfonds en Gezinsbond.

Free for under-18s and accompanying EDC holders.