Viviane Sassen has enjoyed an impressive ascent over the course of her career in order to get to where she is now. Having spent several of her formative years living in Kenya, the artist and photographer has moulded a unique and distinctive style permeated by references to her childhood memories of Africa: luscious, vibrant colours, strong forms and sculpted silhouettes all feature heavily in her work.
Viviane has already worked with some of the biggest fashion titles, but now it seems that her influence is reverberating around the art world too; Analemma is a new exhibition at The Photographers’ Gallery which includes fashion photography created over a 20 year period from 1992 to 2012. “The title Analemma refers to an astronomical term describing an eight-shaped curve, which maps the position of the sun in relation to time,” The Photographers’ Gallery explains. “Sassen’s work is characterised by an unwillingness to conform to prevailing codes and conventions, especially those that have come to dominate the worlds of fashion and advertising."
It seems to be this non-conformity that lends her work as easily to a gallery show as to a 12 page magazine spread. Her models’ poses are heavy with references to fine art formulae and silhouettes, while the colour palette leans more towards an unashamedly bold exoticism, layered with texture, backgrounds and subtle geometric shapes. Analemma may be the first London show of her work, but it will be swiftly followed by Pikin Slee at the ICA next Spring. It looks like this is shaping up to be Viviane’s year.
Viviane Sassen: Analemma: Fashion Photography 1992 –2012 at The Photographers’ Gallery will run until 18 January 2015. See our preview of the show on our exhibition listings site, This at There.