Viviane Sassen

BIOGRAPHY

1972-

Viviane Sassen is a Dutch artist living in Amsterdam who works in both the fashion and fine art world, known for her use of geometric shapes, often abstractions of bodies. She studied fashion design, followed by photography at the Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU) and Ateliers Arnhem. Recent solo exhibitions have taken place at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago (2017); Atelier Néerlandais, Paris (2015); The Photographers’ Gallery, London (2015); ICA, London (2015); and Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam (2014). Sassen was included on the main exhibition of the 55th Venice Biennale, The Encyclopedic Palace, in 2013. Other notable group shows include New Photography at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2011); Figure and Ground: Dynamic Landscape at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto as part of the Contact Photography Festival (2011).


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 nominated for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize for her exhibition Umbra. She has also received numerous awards for her publications. 


Flamboya includes photographs taken across Africa—from Cape Town to Kenya to Zambia—that disregard traditional boundaries of genres and tackle the problematic bond between photography, imperialism, and the colonial imagination. Sassen’s aesthetic vocabulary suggestively recalls documentary as much as staged photography and relies on a visual economy that invites the formulation of multiple interpretations. Seen through Sassen’s lens, the ethnic Other interrogates the traditional nexus laid between vision, knowledge, and power, which lies at the heart of the history and ideology of photography.