Fashion as Art: Viviane Sassen

Exploring the Works of a Leading Contemporary Art and Fashion Photography Figure

Known for her experimental approach to image making, the Photographer’s gallery’s current exhibition Analemma: Fashion Photography 1992 – 2012, explores Viviane Sassen’s very distinct visual language. 350 images presented in the form of an immersive installation, includes award-winning campaigns for Stella McCartney, Adidas, Carven, Bergdorf Goodman, Miu Miu, and M Missoni.

01_PressImage l Viviane Sassen, In Bloom, 2011
Her work is known for making sharp uses of contrasts of light and shadow, vivid colours, exuberant forms and unusual compositions.

‘She works very fast and intuitively, creating images that capture a very specific but fleeting moment,’ Assistant curator Anna Dannemann, told us. ‘By using projections in the gallery space instead of displaying prints, the installation engages with the dynamism of her visual language, her interest in props and staged settings as well as the temporary nature of the fashion image.’

03_PressImage l Viviane Sassen, girl in sand, 2009
We asked Anna more about the exhibition, and the iconic photographer:

The Plus: With such a large body of work to her name, what was the selection criteria for what would go in the exhibition?
Anna Dannemann:
Despite the large number of images in the Analemma presentation (over 350), Sassen works very carefully on the sequencing of images, adapting her edit for every context in which the work is shown. All the works feature in her book In and Out of Fashion but also included other previously unpublished images.

TP: Do you have a favorite image? -If so why?
I do have a number of favorite images that seem to change almost daily. Some are very colorful; some reflect a certain mood or others just surprise you constantly.

TP: Have you learnt anything new about Viviane, through curating this exhibition, that surprised you, or that you didn’t realize before?
I was very impressed with her openness and precision, attention to detail and clarity of what she wants. I think I knew that before but it was just a fantastic experience to work with her.

07_PressImage l Viviane Sassen, Corpus Electra, 2012
06_PressImage l Viviane Sassen, Untitled, 2012
05_PressImage l Viviane Sassen, Biotype, 2004
02_PressImage l Viviane Sassen, In Bloom, 2011
Viviane Sassen: Analemma, Fashion Photography 1992 – 2012 & Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, the Condé Nast Years 1923 – 1937 are both on at the Photographers Gallery now until 18 January 2015.