Sjoerd Knibbeler

The question how to travel to the Moon has since long been addressed in legends, stories and later in literature. These virtual attempts were the first recorded steps of human exploration of the Moon as a place. Still today – except for a very few individuals – the Moon is a place we experience entirely through words and images.


Lunacy (2017) examines the fundamental human desire for exploration: A Faustian restlessness driving our advances into the realm beyond planet Earth. Sjoerd Knibbeler has been collecting and sampling the rich history of lunar voyages, in an attempt to photograph in outer space. Moon travelling requires a lot of ingenuity – both in fiction and reality – and many scientist, engineer, writer, film maker or other inventor has taken up the challenge. Based on their words and images, found in novels, studies, designs, films and photographs, he has built models of their spacecraft. The models are made from fibreboard and wood; organic material that, as far as we know, exists only on planet Earth. In an outdoor studio setting, he took photographs of the models at night, using only Moonlight. Each part of this process is real: he doesn’t manipulate the photographs, but rather manipulates the conditions and materials in an attempt to let the photographs themselves become the space where Moon and Earth meet.

About the photographer

Sjoerd Knibbeler(1981) studied at KABK in The Hague. He is actually both a photographer and an inventor. Knibbeler creates the largest part of his work inside his studio, although he draws inspiration from research that he performs outside, researching science and technology and, for example, the flow of air, wind and clouds. He tries to illustrate what we normally do not see and creates his own logic. His work has been shown in solo exhibitions at Foam Museum, Espace Quai1, Contact Festival and Villa Noailles. Notable group exhibitions include Quickscan NL#02, Dutch Photo Museum and the Paris Photo / Aperture Foundation Photobook Awards in 2015, which included his shortlisted artist book Paper Planes. In 2015, he won the Grand Prix du Jury Photographie at the 30th International Festival in Hyères, was selected as Foam Talent. Sjoerd Knibbeler is a member of the international photography collective Piece of Cake.