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About the Artist

Born in Amsterdam but spending three years of her early childhood in Africa. Viviane first studied fashion design before turning to photography and eventually receiving a MFA in fine art from the Royal Academy in Arnhem. Renowned and respected equally for her fine art as for her innovative fashion images. She has her own unmistakable style often using shadow, geometric shapes and the abstraction of bodies, which she attributes to the influence of childhood memories of Africa. Contributing regularly to titles such as Dazed and Confused, Pop and Another, she has collaborated on many global campaigns including Stella McCartney, Hermes, Botega Veneta, Philip Lim and Missoni. She has been exhibited globally, published many books of her work and won numerous awards including The Prix de Rome in 2007 and showing at the Venice Biennale in 2013. A presentation of her work will open this summer at The Hepworth Wakefield that will include both new works and a self curated selection of her images from the past ten years. She lives in Amsterdam.

Client List

  • Acne
  • Adidas
  • AnOther Magazine
  • Bottega Veneta
  • Carven
  • Dazed & Confused
  • Dior
  • Double Magazine
  • Eres
  • Fantastic Man
  • Frank Ocean
  • Hermès
  • Le Monde M Magazine
  • Max Mara
  • Missoni
  • Miu Miu
  • Numéro
  • Paul Smith
  • Philip Lim
  • POP Magazine
  • Purple
  • Wall Street Journal Magazine
  • 10 Magazine
  • 032C Magazine

Books

Hot Mirror
Prestel
2018

This mid-career retrospective volume focuses on Viviane Sassen’s fine art photography, revealing a surrealist undercurrent in her work. Sassen recognizes Surrealism as one of her earliest artistic influences, seen in the uncanny shadows, fragmented bodies, and otherworldly landscapes she captures in her work.

Of Mud and Lotus
artbeat publishers
2017

Of Mud and Lotus is Viviane’s second collaboration with Japanese collective artbeat publishers and G/P Gallery, Tokyo. As the title suggests, this body of work engages in a conversation on transformation, procreation and fecundity, all elements traditionally ascribed to the idea of the feminine.

Roxane II
Oodee
2017

In Roxane II, Viviane Sassen and her muse Roxane continue writing their shared visual journal. The dynamic gallery of poses and moods touches notes at times sensual, at times tender. Images are equally about the performances in front of and behind the camera: Sassen’s presence is perceived through her shadow and made tangible by scraps of paper that bear the imprint of her breasts. This is a mutual portrait, an exchange in which the artist’s and model’s individualities blur, leaving traces on each other.

Pikin Slee
Prestel
2014

Known for her imaginative approach to fashion photography, Sassen’s lens here captures mundane objects, making them appear extraordinary against the background of nature’s overwhelming presence. Largely shot in black and white, the informal photos also capture a sense of Sassen’s personal connection to a remote village on the Upper Suriname River, which is inhabited by the ancestors of former slaves who escaped Dutch rule. ‘This project is an exploration of the beauty of the everyday’ writes Sassen in her introduction ‘an investigation of the sculptural qualities of the ordinary’.

Umbra
Oodee
2014
Etan & Me
Oodee
2013

Etan & Me is a story of love and loss, of Eros and Thanatos. It’s a story about the exploration of the Self and the Other. Are we ever able to truly know someone, to truly know ourselves?

In a remote village in the jungle of the Suriname, Viviane took portraits of this young man called Etan and combined them with blurred and scattered self-portraits, reflecting on the ancient myths of Narcissus and the Origin of Painting by Pliny the Elder.

Die Son Sien Alles
Library Man
2012

Viviane Sassen continues her equally playful and incisive explorations of contemporary African culture, visuality and desire with Die Son Sien Alles. Published by the brilliant Libraryman (Stockholm) in an extremely limited edition, this stunning volume captures the vibrant, poster-strewn interiors of shantytown dwellings and businesses in Cape Town.

In and Out of Fashion
Prestel
2012

Bringing together seventeen years of work in the fashion world, this eye-catching volume features selections from Sassen’s award-winning series and campaigns for Stella McCartney, Adidas, Carven, Bergdorf Goodman, MiuMiu, and M Missoni, along with editorials for magazines such as The New York Times Magazine, i-D, Numero, Purple, AnOther Magazine, Dazed & Confused, Fantastic Man, and POP.

Roxane
Oodee
2012
Parasomnia
Prestel
2011

Parasomnia is the third monograph of award winning Dutch photographer Viviane Sassen. The photographs are shot throughout West and East Africa and explore the theme of Parasomnia, the sleep disorder in which a person has strange dreams, behaviours and movements. The book opens with a short story from Moses Isegawa and from there Sassen’s photographs aim to confuse and thrill you. The photographs remain somewhere between realism and surrealism. She employs colour and bold compositions to startling effect.

Flamboya
Contrasto
2008

This was the first comprehensive catalogue to feature the independent work of Dutch photographer Viviane Sassen. It includes over fifty photographs taken across Africa from Cape Town to Kenya and Zambia that disregard traditional boundaries of genre and tackle the problematic bond between photography, imperialism and the colonial imaginary.

Exhibitions & Events

Solo Exhibitions

2017
‘Umbra’
Museum of Contemporary PhotographyChicago, USA
2016
‘Lexicon’
Hordaland KunstsenterBergen, Norway
2015
‘Umbra’
Atelier Néerlandais,Paris, France
2015
‘Pikin Slee’, Etan & Me’
Museum Hilversum,Netherlands
2015
‘Pikin Slee’
ICALondon
2015
‘Pikin Slee
Centre Pasqu ArtBiel, Switzerland
2014
‘In and Out of Fashion’
The Photographers GalleryLondon
2014
‘In and Out of Fashion’
Fotomuseum WinterWinterthur, Switzerland
2014
‘Lexicon’/ ‘Pikin Slee’
GP GalleryTokyo
2014
‘Umbra’
FotomuseumRotterdam, The Netherlands
2014
'Pikin Slee’ and ‘Etan&Me’
Stevenson GalleryCapetown, South Africa
2014
‘In and Out of Fashion’
André León Gallery, Savannah College of Art & DesignSavannah, Georgia, USA
2014
‘Lexicon’
Moontower Foundation (Rebecca Horn)Germany
2014
‘Lexicon’
City GalleryWellington, New Zealand
2014
‘In and Out of Fashion’
Fotografie Forum FrankfurtFrankfurt, Germany
2013
In and out of Fashion’
Scottish National Portrait GalleryEdinburgh, UK
2013
‘In and out of Fashion’
Les Rencontres d’Arles Photo Festival,Arles, France
2013
‘In and out of Fashion’
Huis Marseille Museum for Photography, Amsterdam
2013
‘Pikin Slee’
Unseen Photo Fair, Stevenson GalleryAmsterdam, The Netherlands
2013
‘Three Magi’
Kunstverein ArnsbergArnsberg, Germany
2012
‘Parasomnia’
Stevenson GalleryCape Town
2012
‘In and out of Fashion’
Huis Marseille for PhotographyAmsterdam, The Netherlands
2012
‘There There’
Crawford GalleryCork, Ireland
2012
‘Youth Code’
Photo BiennaleDaegu, Cork
2011
‘Sketches & Flamboya’
FotohofSalzburg, Austria
2011
‘Parasomnia’
Motive GalleryAmsterdam
2010
Sketches & Flamboya’
Kominek GalleryBerlin, Germany
2010
‘Flamboya’
Danziger ProjectsNew York, USA
2010
‘Flamboya’
FORMAMilano, Italy
2010
‘Flamboya’
Musee Chateau d’EauToulouse, France
2010
‘Moshi’
Stevenson GalleryCape Town, South Africa
2009
‘Flamboya’
Galerie van den BergeGoes, The Netherlands
2008
‘Flamboya’
FOAM Photography MuseumAmsterdam
2008
‘Flamboya’
De GangHaarlem, The Netherlands
2007
‘As The Crow Flies’
Museum Jan CunenOss, The Netherlands
2006
‘Die Son Sien Alles’
Motive GalleryAmsterdam, The Netherlands
2005
‘Realm’
Motive GalleryAmsterdam, The Netherlands

Selected Group Exhibitions

2016
‘In These Shadows’
Casemore Kirkeby GallerySan Francisco, USA
2016
‘Exchange’
Gallerie Hans MayerDusseldorf, Germany
2016
‘Freundschaftsspiel Istanbul-Freiburg
Museum für Neue KunstFreiburg, Germany
2015
‘Deutsche Börse Prize’ - (Showing Umbra)
The Photographers GalleryLondon
2015
‘Deutsche Börse Prize’ - (Showing Umbra)
MMK MuseumFrankfurt, Germany
2015
‘When I Give, I Give Myself’
Van Gogh MuseumAmsterdam, The Netherlands
2014
‘Photofestival 2014’
Knokke-HeistBelgium
2014
‘Modern Times’
RijksmuseumAmsterdam, The Netherlands
2014
‘Where There’s Smoke’
Fraenkel GallerySan Francisco, USA
2014
‘Kunst & Textil’
StaatsgalerieStuttgart, Germany
2013
55th Venice Biennale - The Encyclopedic Palace
Venice, Italy
2013
‘A Sculptural Premise’
Stevenson GalleryCape Town, South Africa
2013
‘Art & Textile: Fabric as Material and Concept in Modern Art From Klimt to the Present’
KunstmuseumWolfsburg, Germany
2013
‘The Photographic Eye’
FRACAuvergne, France
2013
‘The Rediscovery of the World’
Huis Marseille for PhotographyAmsterdam, The Netherlands
2013
‘Oranje’
Schlifka-Molina GalleryBuenos Aires, Argentina
2013
‘43rd Salon Naçional de Artistas’
Museo de AtioquiaMedellin, Columbia
2012
‘Young People’
FotomuseumWinterthur, Switzerland
2012
‘Africa: Photographs and video from The Martin Marguiles Collection’
Bob Rauschenberg Gallery, Edison State CollegeFlorida, USA
2012
‘Through an Open Window - Contemporary Art from the Rabo Art Collection’
Institute NeérlandaisParis, France
2012
‘Daegu Photo Biennale’
South Korea
2012
‘Photomouth Festival’
Krakow, Poland
2012
‘Six Yards: Guaranteed Dutch Design’
Museum of Modern ArtArnhem, The Netherlands
2011
‘What We Talk About When We talk About Love’
Stevenson GalleryCape Town, South Africa
2011
‘New Photography’
Museum of Modern ArtNew York, USA
2011
‘No Fashion Please’
Kunsthalle WienVienna, Italy
2010
‘Africa’
The Margulies Collection at The WarehouseMiami, USA
2010
‘Shadow Dance’
Kunsthall KAdEAmersfoort, The Netherlands
2010
‘Lagos Photo’
Lagos, Nigeria
2010
‘Brighton Photo Biennial’ - (Showing Flamboya)
Brighton, UK
2007
‘Festival International de Mode’
Villa NoaillesHyeres, France
2007
‘Dutch Fantasy’
Institute Neerlandaisparis, France
2006
‘Artissima’
Motive GalleryTurin, Italy
2006
‘Die Liebe Zum Licht’
Stadtiche GalerieDelmenhorst, Germany
2006
‘Die Liebe Zum Licht’
Robert Simon StiftungCelle, Germany

Awards & Prizes

2018
Gold and Silver Lion for ‘Adidas x Pharrell Williams’ Campaign
Cannes LionsFrance
2015
‘David Octavius Hill Award’
Deutsche Fotografische AkademieGermany
2015
‘Honorary Fellowship Award’
The Royal Photographic Society’Bath, UK
2015
‘Gold Medal - Deutsche Fotobuchpreis’ - Best Photobook 2016 (for Umbra)
Stuttgart, Germany
2015
Deutsche Börse Prize - Nominee
London, UK
2013
Gold Medal Deutsche Fotobuchpreis - For Best Photobook 2013 (for ‘In and Out of Fashion’)
Stuttgart, Germany
2013
‘Need Scherer Award’ - Best Photobook 2013 (for ‘In and Out of Fashion’)
Kees Scherer FoundationAmsterdam, The Netherlands
2011
‘Infinity Award’ - For applied/fashion/advertising photography
International Centre of PhotographyNew York
2009
BMW Prize - Nomination
Motive Gallery, Paris PhotoParis, France
2009
Finalist Best Book Award (for Flamboya)
Recontres -ArlesFrance
2009
Finalist Kees Scherer Prize (for Flamboya)
Fotofestival NaardenThe Netherlands
2007
KLM Paul Huf Award - Nomination
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2007
Prix de Rome
Amsterdam, The Netherlands