Viviane Sassen.
In and Out of Fashion

May 17– August 17, 2014

Viviane Sassen

Photo: Viviane Sassen, “Nest”, 2010

Viviane Sassen, IN BLOOM

Photo: Viviane Sassen, “In bloom” for Dazed & Confused magazine, 2011

Viviane Sassen, Untitled

Photo: Viviane Sassen, “Untitled #02 (Anna)” from the series Foreplay, 2011

The Dutch photographer Viviane Sassen has carved out her own unmistakable style and it is held in high regard. Alongside her autonomous work, however, she has worked many years as a fashion photographer. The Fotografie Forum Frankfurt will premier “Viviane Sassen. In and Out of Fashion”, a retrospective of her fashion photography from the last 18 years. In the Netherlands and abroad Viviane Sassen is known foremost as an artist, whose surreal, colourful photographs of Africa won her the Prix de Rome in 2007 and in 2011 she was presented with the International Center of Photography (ICP) Infinity Award in New York. During the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013 her photographs were exhibited at the Palazzo Encyclopedic.

Viviane Sassen has developed a unique visual language that is fascinating and full of energy. Her fashion photography is marked by both innovative strength and a surrealistic beauty. Sassen treats fashion photography as the ultimate playground, where she can work quickly and intuitively while enjoying the additional benefits of having a professional team on hand to facilitate her experiments. With the artist Emmeline de Mooij she produced photographic series for magazines such as Purple, Re-Magazine and Dazed & Confused. The series Nudes includes early photos by Sassen and De Mooij that were based on simple ideas and had strange and surprising effects. The exhibition also shows images from the now iconic series she made for the magazine Kutt in 2002.

A new projection installation will be created including new works and past classics. More than 300 photos taken from advertising campaigns created for Carven, M-Missoni, Stella McCartney/Adidas and Levi’s, and from editorials for magazines such as Pop, Wallpaper, Numéro, AnOther Magazine, Purple, and Dazed & Confuse, will be shown. The exciting, experimental, creative, modern character of contemporary fashion is evident in these photographs.

Viviane Sassen carries out a modernist research into form that has much in common with the formal experiments of cubism, surrealism and minimalism. She boldly crops her models’ limbs to position them as floating objects in the image. She often adds areas of colour to her images or rotates her pictures to free them from the constraints of gravity, all of this to stimulate the viewer’s imagination. In the section called Foreplay images are exhibited which Sassen makes just before or right after a shoot, revealing the serendipities of the photographic process. This series forms perhaps the most intriguing new genre in Viviane Sassen’s oeuvre, producing images marked by an extraordinary abstraction.

Sassen works with natural resources like bright sunlight, shadows, and reflections in mirrors, but her images are also constructed using colours, forms and textures. Viviane Sassen’s spontaneous, artistic, and characteristically individual approach has ensured that her fashion photography goes far beyond the usual confines of this medium. The fashion domain affords her the space to carry out experiments that generate a reservoir of material, which enable her to develop the language of her autonomous work.

The accompanying monograph to this exhibition, “Viviane Sassen. In and Out of Fashion”, with texts from Nanda van den Berg und Charlotte Cotton, Prestel Verlag, Munich is available in hardcover with 260 pages, 250 colour illustrations, and a chronological overview of tear sheets of almost all Sassen’s fashion series to date. Price: 49.95 EUR during the exhibition.

This exhibition is a cooperation of Fotografie Forum Frankfurt, Studio Viviane Sassen and Huis Marseille Museum voor Fotografie, Amsterdam. |

Special Events

Saturday, May 17, 2014, 2pm
Lecture “About the Art of Viviane Sassen’s Fashion Photography”
Nanda van den Berg, Senior curator Huis Marseille Museum voor Fotografie, Amsterdam

Saturday, May 17, 2014, 6pm
Lecture “What a Collection Means to a Museum and How We Collect”
Els Barents, Director Huis Marseille Museum voor Fotografie, Amsterdam

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