Nele Van Canneyt travels around the world and takes the time to silently observe desolate spaces and (in)direct human presence. The photographer seeks out solitude, yet always within close proximity of others. Her visual work evinces her sensitivity to the image, visible, among others, in the deliberate and well-considered choice of a specific soft or dramatic light, a particular colour (combination) or a distinct play of lines or composition.
Her imagery shows us the other whom we can never know or understand, the other as stranger, the other as an inaccessible being. This awareness has been touched upon, among others, by the French philosopher Emmanuel Levinas in his publication 'Totalité et infini' (1961). The photographs not only reflect this awareness but also accept that very inaccessibility; they embrace it.
This incomprehensibility is the common thread that underlies Nele Van Canneyt’s visual language. These photographs invite the viewer to reflect on moments that are otherwise carelessly overlooked. The images show seemingly peaceful and imperturbable universes in which we can let our thoughts wander, although a stroke of thunder thunder could disrupt this tranquil scene at any moment. An unpredictable event. A pitfall? A fateful step? Or not? If there is something that all of Nele Van Canneyt’s images have in common, then it is this sense of immense openness. - Sofie Crabbé