Reflecting New Talent

“Happy new year / The world is burning / And I’d like to put it out / But the fire is greater than me.” This is the chorus of Dutch singer-songwriter Froukje’s breakthrough song, Groter Dan Ik (2020). It’s a protest against climate crisis, directed towards irresponsible leaders and profiteers she feels are robbing younger generations of a future. They have turned a blind eye to warning signs: extreme weather, global heating, melting glaciers and wildfires. When the song dropped, Froukje’s raw lyrics and engagement with key issues captured fans. Three years later, she is one of the Netherlands’ most loved upcoming musicians.

We often meet her stern gaze in these shots. In one instance, her expression is calm yet assertive. She is positioned looking down at us through a small square frame. The photograph was taken by self-taught lens-based artist David van Dartel (b. 1995). It’s part of a series of visuals for Froukje’s highly anticipated debut album, Noodzakelijk Verdriet (Necessary Sadness), as well as a new exhibition at Elliott Gallery, Amsterdam. The pair travelled by boat to Froukje’s birthplace, Nieuwkoop, for the shoot, which is filled with details from the lush Dutch landscape: crystal-clear waters, blustering reeds and endless fields.

Another piece shows the musician semi-submerged in a deep lake. She looks distant and lost in thought, looking down towards her warped reflection and pulling us into the depths of the composition. There’s a closeness between subject and artist reminiscent of Snezhana von Büdingen-Dyba’s Meeting Sofie or Yao Yuan’s 12321. Dartel captures many facets to Froukje, showing quiet confidence and fearless vulnerability.

Elliott Gallery, Froukje | Until 3 February

Words: Diana Bestwish Tetteh

Image Credits:

  1. Froukje by David van Dartel. © David van Dartel / Elliott Gallery