Dear Shaded Viewers,
More than 200 works by the Dutch artist, Viviane Sassen, will be exhibited at Maison Européenne de la Photographie. This is her first retrospective in Paris and will take over the two main floors of the MEP.
The emblematic series, including “Umbra”, “Parasomnia”, “Flamboya” and “Roxane”, as well as unseen archives, mixed-media works incorporating photography, painting, collage and video, and fashion photography will shed light on Viviane Sassen’s creative process by focusing on two main themes: the incessant search for new photographic forms and the importance of intimacy in her work. For Sassen, photography is more than a mere surface: it is an opening onto a place where her dreams, desires and fears co-exist with the world in all its tangible reality.
Initially studying fashion design, Viviane Sassen quickly turned to photography, pursuing her education at the Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU). After completing her studies, she alternated between personal projects and commercial work. Her photographic style – with its saturated colours, interplay of light and shadow and unique portrayals of the human body – was soon in great demand. Viviane Sassen rapidly gained worldwide recognition, both in the fashion industry and in the cultural world.
On the occasion of this exhibition, a 400-page, fully illustrated book comprising several essays and designed by Dutch graphic artist Irma Boom, will be published by Prestel in collaboration with the MEP.
Viviane Sassen was born in 1972 in Amsterdam, and lives there. She studied fashion design, followed by photography at the Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU), and Ateliers Arnhem.
Her work has been the subject of major solo exhibitions, including
In and Out Of Fashion, Huis Marseille, Amsterdam (2012); Umbra, Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam (2014); Analemma: Fashion Photography
1992 -2012, The Photographers’ Gallery, London (2015); Pikin Slee, ICA, London (2015); Umbra, Fotografiska, Stockholm (2017); Lexicon, Foto Kunst Stadforum, Innsbruck, Austria (2017); Umbra, Deichtorhallen, Hambourg (2017); Umbra, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago (2017).
Sassen has also taken part in numerous group exhibitions, including
New Photography at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2011),
No Fashion, Please! Photography between gender and lifestyle at Kunsthalle, Vienna (2011); at the Museum für Neue Kunst Freiburg, Germany (2016);
at the Museum de Fundatie, Zwolle (2016); at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation (2017); at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (2017); at CAFA Museum, Chine (2018); at McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, San Francisco (2020) and at Fotomuseum, Winterthur (2022).
Her work was featured in the main exhibition at the 55th Venice Biennale, The Encyclopedic Palace, in 2013.
Sassen was awarded the Dutch art prize, the Prix de Rome in 2007, and in 2011 won the International Center of Photography in New York’s Infinity Award for Applied/Fashion/Advertising Photography. In 2015, she was awarded the David Octavius Hill Medal from the German Photography Academy, and was also nominated for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize for her exhibition Umbra. She has also received numerous awards for her publications.