Nele Van Canneyt in Gaspé


As if the day never existed

Nele Van Canneyt, Kortrijk, Belgium |

Nele Van Canneyt takes the time to observe (in)direct human presence or absence during the day as well as at night. She daydreams while photographing and gets inspired by the reality around her. Seemingly banal images become charged with meaning and draw the viewer into a dream world, as it were.

The photographer often photographs in anticipation of the night, sometimes creating an intermediate zone between day and night. As if the night never stops, as if the day never starts, with an eternal timelessness in between. The photographer isolates herself for this purpose, but always remains in the vicinity of others.

At night her senses are sharper and she is more alert. The light is gone, so much falls away, and what remains is essential. At night, the world also completely stills.

“When the daylight has gone, I feel surrounded by atmosphere. Sounds are different, more silence in my head. At that moment I forget the day. As if the day never existed.” – Nele Van Canneyt

Between the inner world of human experience and the visible world there is a gap as an outsider. This leads us seamlessly to the other whom we can never know or understand, the other as a stranger, the other as an inaccessible being.

Nele Van Canneyt mainly goes in search of the subcutaneous, the unexpressed, and finds it in unguarded moments, both during the day and at night. Her photos tell a story, but at the same time leave a lot open. As a viewer, you are left with questions.

Exhibition at Rencontres

As if the day never existed

Nele Van Canneyt is a visual artist living in Belgium who projects her dreamworld onto reality. In her photographic work, she frequently mirrors a silent reality in unstaged images. Her pictures evoke the dialogue between the inner world of thoughts and experiences and the visible reality.

As an avid traveler, she has a vast archive of pictures, and in recent years she has been combining photos from different locations in series. This reveals new and compelling connections between unrelated images. While it is evident that each and every image can be viewed separately, just as with text or image fragments in a film the meaning shifts due to context or the order in which we read the visual information.

Nele Van Canneyt has shown her work in several solo exhibitions such as Worlds Inside, Outside; Stilled; and Moon.

In early 2021 she presented her most recent solo exhibition, Inner Land, at the Museum of Bruges (Belgium). Before the coronavirus crisis, Nele found her inspiration mainly abroad. Through the pandemic she discovered her own country, Belgium, which resulted in the ongoing series Inner Land.

Nele initially studied Journalism & Communication Management at Artevelde University College in Ghent, followed by a Photography degree at Sint-Lucas Academy/ LUCA School of Arts Ghent.

Her book As If the Day Never Existed will be released simultaneously with the series being shown at Rencontres, in 2021.