1. She’s a genius
Whatever she touches turns to gold. I got to realise this with her personal series PARASOMNIA. She, like no other, turns human matter into delicate saturated abstraction. When closing one of her books you feel like wandering if you are blind not to see the beauty she depicts everywhere, like she does. It is usually damn simple but it always is right in front of your own nose and you could’t see it.
Arthur Schopenhauer summed it all:
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
2. Because none does it like Viviane
I have been advocating for Fashion Photography as a genre of its own for a while now. I oppose it to Photography of Fashion to make the distinction clearer. Viviane Sassen’s work is Fashion by nature, like a haute couture collection can be, not talking about the clothes or the models, she uses them like others would use clay to sculpt. It is fine arts without questions but radiates a sense of NOW that makes pretty much everyone else in the Fashion Editorial Photography business look a bit ridiculous. Next to her work, their attempts as brilliant as they can be, look pale and vain. I can spend hours browsing through the new classy ideas of Madame Peripetie, New Formalists and friends, they sadly recall her work to me and can’t match the delicacy and subtlety, Viviane sneaks in just like a curse over photographers.
3. Because shapes and forms are fine but humans are best
Ok ok that statement does not make too much sense, but Her photos are more than just vivid visual compositions. Human remains a middle point in her body of work and ETHAN and ME is here to prove it like a final point at the end of a chapter. Her friend Ethan is pictured with an incredible sensibility and complicity. The series reflects on friendship relationships and asks some ontological questions about what it is to be Human before pushing further and complete the question with a “… in the 21st century”. I swear there are all of those in Viviane’s work.
4. Because Fashion photography is kicking in, RIGHT NOW
Germany has had a few highlights for Fashion Photography recently, and so had the world. Guy Bourdin at DeichtorHallen, Helmut Museum in Berlin, fine!!! But old like your grandpa and in fashion it means like before the first bacteria appeared on earth. Viviane does it now and floods your favorite magazine with her editorial shootings here, here and there.
5. Because she photographs Africa anyway but the way we want a white female artist to do so…
…and god that feels good. Bye stereotypes, bye convenience, bye colonialist systems of visual representation (no no I m not joking…). Hello fresh Viviane air! You see? Sometimes she s the one responsible for the curse and sometimes she is the cure. What else?
Conclusion? Go to see In and Out Fashion – Viviane Sassen exhibition in Frankfurt