Visual artist, filmmaker and documentary photographer Ilse Frech (1972, Amsterdam) is of Dutch-Macedonian descent. She studied Photography (1990-94) at the Royal Academy for Fine Arts, Architecture and Music (KABK). Earnt a Master of Arts HES-SO degree in Fine Arts and Contemporary Artistic Practices, major Work.Master from the Swiss University of Art and Design, HEAD-Genève (2011-13). By then working internationally since 1995. Selected for World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass in 2003, she portrayed Muslim youth in Paris’ banlieues, in a series titled Private Life, for which she received a nomination for the ICP Infinity Award for Documentary and Photojournalism. 2005 Onwards she pursued working with Muslim women in Paris’ banlieues, resulting in a solo-exhibition and monograph I Am – Paradox Identity, further a documentary film, I Am. My Islam. My France., a colorful mosaic of five young Muslim women offering an intimate glance through the façade of concrete, premiering at the Institut Néerlandais, Paris – Mois de la Photo 2008. The film was selected for IWAB South-Korea, Incheon Women Artists’ Biennal 2009. Residing in Paris, she worked in Russia as well, creating an essayistic documentary portrait in photography and film, of Nika – Russian and seropositive (HIV+), resulting in Nika, Russia LOVE.

In 2010 Frech realised Zjeitu commissioned by The Rijksmuseum and NRC Handelsblad on behalf of the annual photography commission ‘Document Nederland’, as a result photographs of the project are conserved in The Rijksmuseum’s Photography Collection: Zjeitu, a sultry portrait of the Dutch Antilles, exhibited at De Kunsthal, Rotterdam (2010-11). With its annual commission the Rijksmuseum intends to highlight subjects of relevance to contemporary Dutch society with the aim of documenting history as it unfolds. Sweet Terror of Memory – ΨΙΘΥΡΟΙ (2018, 15′) is a short fiction-, experimental documentary film, a visual poem and triptych of historical- and fictional narrative based upon her Aegean Macedonian mothers’ biography, exile of The Greek Civil War (1946-48), unlocking genealogical heritage of trauma. Sweet Terror of Memory – ΨΙΘΥΡΟΙ had its premiere at the Nederlands Film Festival in Utrecht, September 2018.

Poems for A Scenario is an assemblage of poetry and prose written by Frech whereupon the filmscript for Sweet terror of Memory was assembled, of which Blank | Hiroshima Mon Amour, was firstly published by Rusted Radishes, the Beirut Literary and Art Journal, issue no. 5/ 2016: ‘The Political City’. Part of Exile: Belonging (2011-14): An artistic research project functioning as a creative space where identity related to political heritage, the imprint of war, exile and trauma, associated with mythology, legend and body-memory are entwined with documentary, re-enactment and fiction translated into audiovisual-installations, video works, photography, performances and poetry. Artist in residence for three months in 2016 at Ashkal Alwan, Beirut – The Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts, in affiliation with Mondriaan Fund (NL), during which she researched Lebanese war trauma and its multiple carriers of memory, resulting in a twofold outcome: Fugacious Presence, a collaborative, improvisational performance and audiovisual installation, presented at Ashkal Alwan (27/05/16), besides the concept for a new filmproject, currently in preparation to be developed: “One”, A Letter to Eternity.


Curriculum vitae


2018-2017 Cinematography, Camera College Bergen op Zoom, The Netherlands

2015  Summer Institute of Art, ‘Art & The Politics of Estrangement’, June 4-23, Saas-Fee, Switzerland

2013-2011 Master of Arts HES-SO in Fine Arts, Major Work.Master – Contemporary Artistic Practices, University of Art & Design, HEAD-Geneva, Switzerland

MFA Thesis: Image as Language – Language as Image (2013)

1996-1995 MA Photography (1st year) at the Academy of Arts St. Joost – Breda, The Netherlands

1995-1994 Masterclass Photography, Royal Academy of Visual Arts, Dance and Music – KABK The Hague, The Netherlands

1994-1990 BA Photography, Royal Academy of Visual Arts, Dance and Music – KABK The Hague, The Netherlands

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Events Present \\ Past

05-13/ April 2019

Sweet Terror of Memory – ΨΙΘΥΡΟΙ is selected for the Media Library 2019 | Visions du Reel Festival International de cinéma Nyon, Switzerland. The film is on sale for accredited industry professionals, visiting Visions du Reel. Acces online for three more months: Visions du Reel Media Library

The film had its premiere at the Nederlands Film Festival, Dutch FilmFestival in September 2018.

06/ October 2018

Sweet Terror of Memory – ΨΙΘΥΡΟΙ had its National Premiere October 6th 2018, officially selected for the International Short Film Competion, by IFF Kinenova, Skopje, North- Macedonia.

29/ September 2018

– Premiere of Sweet Terror of Memory – ΨΙΘΥΡΟΙ, officially selected by the Nederlands Film Festival, Utrecht.

27/February 2017

– Participant Masterclass by Zach Blas, Two Outsides: Informatic Opacity
& Contra-Internet at The Rijksakademie, Amsterdam, during Sonic Acts Festival.

12/December – 13/December 2016

– Participant The Mini Sound Series: MaryAnne Amacher Archive Seminar at The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.

27 May 2016

Ashkal Alwan, Beirut, A Collective Performance Fugacious Presence

01/March – 01/June 2016

– Artist-in-residence at Ashkal Alwan, Beirut, Lebanon.


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Contact & ©

Ilse Frech Visual Art, Film & Photography Production | FRECHFILMS
Cellphone: +31 (0)6 51 47 52 56

Inquiries regarding my work, assignment, collaboration, printsales, projects, mentoring, out-of-the-box-brainstorming or other; thank you forwarding your request to

respect © 2018 DISCLAIMER: All images and texts on this website are copyright protected by the author, Ilse Frech. Copyrightholders – other than Ilse Frech, have been specified, when applicable.

In case you’d like to tag or link to my work regarding research of any interdisciplinary field of interest, please forward a link/inquiries at

The lay-out of each projectpage has been created and assembled by Ilse Frech, copyright-owner and author of all imagery and texts. The color palette is taken from the Architectural Polychromy by Le Corbusier.


Website by Kris Borgerink