VIVIANE SASSEN

Вивиан Сассен
ויויאן סאסן
ヴィヴィアンサッセン
维维安·萨森

VIVIANE SASSEN

source: theguardian

Viviane Sassen is recalling three years of her childhood spent in a village in the remote west of Kenya. “Bright sunlight, dark shadows, the market with dead sheep hanging upside down with their tongues out, the other children who always wanted to touch my face and hair, the pure darkness that fell on the village at night.”

Sassen’s father ran the polio clinic in the village. When he decided to return to Amsterdam, she was five and unprepared for her new life. She remembers looking out of the aeroplane window during its descent into Schiphol and thinking the lights below were “stars that had fallen out of the sky and were scattered on the land”. It took time to adjust. “For a year or so I felt like my real life was going on without me back in Africa and I was living this parallel life here. It was painful in a way, this feeling that I had left my home behind.”

We are sitting in Sassen’s studio-cum-office situated up a tiny alley just off Prinsengracht. Save for a rug on which her five-year-old son Lucius’s toys are scattered, the space is ordered and calm. In an adjacent room her partner, Hugo, and her assistant, Pef, field calls and organise her schedule. She is explaining how these formative memories, as well as the intense dreams that she still has about her childhood, have found creative expression in her photography.

“To me, Africa is vivid colours and strong contrasts of light and dark,” she says. “I remember looking at women and children sitting under the trees sheltering from the sun and, even as a child, seeing these graphic shapes.”

Sassen’s photography is by turns beautiful and unsettling, characterised by disorientating formal experimentation. Although she now devotes more time to personal documentary projects, often involving travel to the remotest parts of Africa, she is best known as a fashion photographer who has built her reputation on breaking the rules. On 19 October a retrospective of her commercial photography, Viviane Sassen: In and Out of Fashion, spanning the years 1998 to 2012, opens at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery .

Like a handful of mavericks before her – Guy Bourdin and Juergen Teller spring to mind – Sassen has reinvented the form by following her instincts. What is striking about her images is that the clothes and the models are mere props for her imagination: a pair of legs stick through holes in a wall; a girl with a bright red face leans over on a pavement as if defying gravity. She uses mirrors, scissors, paint and Photoshop to mess with the viewer’s preconceptions about what a fashion photograph is. It is a long way from the glossiness of Vogue, closer to a post-digital photographic surrealism, though Sassen often still shoots on film and applies Photoshop “in the most amateur and unfinished way”. She is, she says, “always impatient and eager to finish” and finds the constraints of “all the hair and make-up stuff” too frustrating.

“Documentary and fashion are like the two sides of my personality,” she says. “Both are intuitive, but my personal work is more introverted and reflective. Plus it’s just me and Hugo and maybe an assistant. With fashion, there can be 30 people on a set for a big campaign shoot. Mostly I prefer to work quickly with a small crew. It’s about being energetic, extrovert and flamboyant. We just go crazy, and it’s like I am in a trance. It’s just go, go, go!”

Sassen is such a centred presence it’s hard to imagine her thriving on this freneticism. She studied fashion at the Royal Academy in Arnhem and briefly became a model, working for Viktor & Rolf before she transferred to do a photography degree at Utrecht in 1992. “I did my thesis on the photography book as a medium because I was so inspired by artists such as Nan Goldin, Larry Clark, Araki and Richard Billingham. People who make intimate documentary work about their own life on small cameras with great energy.”

Sassen used photography, she says, to explore her sexuality as a teenager, making nude portraits of herself, her boyfriends and female friends. “I think that the experience I had of being shot by male photographers shaped what I was attempting to do, to show a different kind of sexuality than that created by the male gaze. One that is more fractured, disjointed. I have always been a very shy exhibitionist, ” she continues, laughing. “Trying to hide but wanting to show.”

Sassen’s work first appeared in the 2000s in a literary magazine called Austerlitz and a photography zine called SEC. “There were all these crazy fashion magazines: Fantastic Man, Self-Service. I just sent some of my work off to Purple Fashion magazine, and they published it.”

She worked with a pool of friends, including fellow photographer Emmeline de Mooij, who became her model, assistant, stylist and the first of several muses. “We were working with simple ideas,” remembers de Mooij in an interview for the In and Out of Fashion catalogue. “It was all about form. For props we used ordinary household stuff; sometimes we bought flowers. We always worked intuitively.”

Now, it seems, she is frustrated by the conservatism of fashion photography even if she enjoys the freedom it’s afforded her. “For me, fashion is one big playground, a place to experiment,” she says. “But I have always had this love/hate thing with it. I don’t really like the business side or the superficiality. You see more and more images of multiple models with multiple sunglasses and multiple bags. It’s all product, product, product and not much creativity.”

One of the best ways to appreciate Sassen’s work is through her photobooks. Flamboya merges documentary and fine art to find a new way of looking at Africa, one that is neither exoticising nor straightforward reportage. Parasomnia is a more dreamlike exploration of Africa that draws on those childhood memories and vivid dreams. She shows me new black-and-white images from a trip to Surinam that merge landscape, observation and staged portraits of her latest muse, a young man called Etan. She seems to be moving further away from fashion towards a kind of heightened documentary, where atmosphere and mystery are key elements.

“Definitely,” she says, smiling. “The title, Parasomnia, is a term for sleep disorders – sleepwalking, sleep talking, night terrors. Photography is in some way about that for me. Putting one foot in an unconscious world. I am trying to evoke that parallel universe I experienced as a child and that I could not find when I came back to Holland. All artists, to a degree, make self-portraits – that is what I am doing in my own instinctive way.”
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source: lensculture

Sassen’s fashion photography is marked by both innovative strength and a surrealistic beauty. In contrast to her renowned independent work, Sassen’s fashion photography is commissioned work that is created in close collaboration with a team of stylists, art directors, models and make-up artists. This means Sassen can treat fashion photography as the ultimate playground, somewhere she can work quickly and intuitively while enjoying the additional benefits of having a professional team on hand to facilitate her experiments. She calls this her ‘Laboratory’.
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source: smileinyourface

‘Moshi’ is a series of beautiful new works by Dutch master photographer Viviane Sassen. Besides having a heavy editorial / commercial schedule, working for magazines like i-D, Purple and Vogue and clients like Miu Miu and Louis Vuitton, Viviane regularly travels to African countries like Tanzania and Kenia to work on personal projects.

For this series she photographed people from the town named ‘Moshi‘ at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania during a period of several months while she was living there. As always Viviane is using shadows and darkness and the shape of human body in a great way, using them to create a sometimes estranging graphic effect in the pictures.
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source: thenewgraphic

A native of the Netherlands, Viviane Sassen spent three of her formative childhood years in Kenya, returning frequently during her teen years and beyond. Sassen’s recent work explores her relationship to Africa and to the world of dreams and waking. As a fashion photographer she has worked for clients like Surface2air (Paris), Louis Vuitton and Adidas, though her fine art photography has recently been winning acclaim worldwide. Her work is both beautiful and unsettling, a feast of color and composition.
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source: chickshabit

” Viviane Sassen ou comment une photographe de mode au style aussi affirmé parvient toujours à retranscrire cette même empreinte personnelle même quand il s’agit de photoreportage.

Née à Amsterdam en 1976, cette très talentueuse photographe néerlandaise grandit au Kenya auprès de sa mère et de son père, médecin de profession. Quelques années plus tard, à l’âge de 16 ans, elle y retourne mais se retrouve bouleversée par l’écart de culture d’un pays auquel elle pensait appartenir. Ainsi Viviane décide, avec beaucoup d’effort, d’accepter cette réalité mais pour son travail, développe une certaine particularité dans la composition de ses images : Une tendance à représenter des personnages jamais entièrement découverts, souvent soit soigneusement cachés derrière une ombre soit ayant littéralement le dos tourné… Selon Viviane, c’est une manière de montrer qu’on ne peut jamais se limiter à l’apparence d’un individu ou à la façade qu’il désire afficher, pour que systématiquement, la vaste complexité de sa personnalité soit dévoilée.Tout cela en résulte une certaine ambiance étrange régnante dans ses clichés vis à vis des mises en scène. Certains descelleront même un brin de surréalisme dans son travail.

Après 7 ans d’études en mode, en photographie et en beaux-arts, Vivianne enchaine les prix de prestige et travaille pour les plus grandes marques (Adidas, Vodafone, Louis Vuitton, Missoni, Miu Miu,…) et magazines (Numéro, I-D, Dazed and Confused, Vogue Paris…). Ce n’est qu’en 2002 qu’elle décide de renouer une bonne fois pour toutes avec les pays Africains et constitue 4 magnifiques séries de photos respectivement intitulées : Parasomnia, Ultraviolet, Flamboya et Die Son Sien Alles.”
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source: degulleekster

De relatie van Viviane Sassen met Afrika is complex. Ze leefde er korte tijd als kind en keert regelmatig terug. Werken in Afrika opent haar geest. Haar dromen zijn er erg levendig, zei ze ooit in een interview. Ze maakt er beelden die haar verwarren en waarvan ze hoopt dat ze anderen ook in verwarring brengen. In haar meest recente serie, Parasomnia, laat Sassen net zo veel niet zien als wel. Op de foto’s wordt veel verborgen gehouden. Door schaduw, water of omdat haar model even de andere kant op kijkt. Een parasomnia is een aandoening die gekenmerkt wordt door abnormale verschijnselen of gedragingen tijdens de slaap, zoals bijvoorbeeld slaapwandelen. De foto’s lijken zich af te spelen in deze staat van halfslaap. Het is er heet. De foto’s geven geen commentaar. Ze vormen een incompleet tableau waar we zelf in onze fantasie mee verder kunnen. Het is de levendige droom van Sassen, slaapdronken, intuïtief en wonderschoon. In het gelijknamige boek, prachtig uitgegeven door Prestel, worden de foto’s voorafgegaan door het korte verhaal Chameleone van de Oegandese Nederlander Moses Isegawa.
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source: leonardocorallini

Ogni luogo della terra può essere espresso attraverso delle immagini.
Le sue ricchezze, i suoi contenuti possono essere rappresentati nel visibile in modo concettuale, denso e pieno di senso.
Si può coltivare il proprio immaginario visivo intimamente e pensare che un giorno, da un incontro con un luogo stimolante, poterlo riversare fuori in modo creativo.
Questo credo è quello che può essere successo a Viviane Sassen che nata ad Amsterdam sembra avere una spiccata sensibilità nella lettura di questi luoghi dell’africa lontani dalla sua origine.
Un’empatia conservata nell’anima che emerge creativamente nel momento dell’incontro con una terra mai vista prima ma come da sempre conosciuta.In genere siamo soliti vedere questi luoghi osservati con lo spirito di chi li documenta cercando nello stato sociale e nelle loro tradizioni l’unica formula per rappresentare queste culture. Non ci si accorge più di quanto queste immagini possano aver perso efficacia e potere visivo, non riescono più a generare interesse e a raccontare le loro storie.Viviane, diversamente, è stata capace, reclutando oggetti e persone sul posto, di mettere in scena una fusione di significati attraverso un gioco di pesi e di forme con un risultato formale sorprendente, senonchè magico. Viviane racconta tutto questo aggiungendo un elemento a dir poco essenziale: la poetica dell’anima di questi luoghi. Le foto sembrano prendere spunto dall’osservazione attenta delle cose presenti nello spazio. Viviane contempla inizalmente tutti quegli elementi che compongono la scena a lei circostante ed è li nasce la foto. Lo scenario di segni e grafismi è ricchissimo, pieno di storie e narrazioni. Questi elementi semantici sono spunto creativo continuo. Le texture delle stampe dei tessuti artigianali, sono una delle sintesi piu dense. Le loro matrici gli intrecci tra colori, forme fisiche, animali ed oggetti sembrano il riflesso e l’origine degli spunti. Allo stesso modo le foto prodotte ci si riflettono dentro. La sovrapposizione continua tra luogo ed immagine prodotta genera un caleidoscopio cangiante tra reale e rappretazione del reale. Una sua idea nasce, anche semplicemente, osservando i comportamenti della luce. Lei contempla la luce come se essa esprimesse un luogo sovrapposto a quello fisico.
La luce traccia delle stutture, generando delle architetture, delle linee, delle campiture, aree in luce, aree di ombra. Si può entrare ed uscire o lasciare che gli elementi siano attraversati o intersecati dalle linee di luce. La luce diventa luogo. La combinazione di luce e ombra, colore ed elementi reali presenti nelle sue foto sono la miscela di un gioco di allestimenti semplici ma ricchi di forza magnetica.

I corpi gestiti da Viviane Sassen in modo rigoroso e puntuale diventano teatro di interazioni sceniche. Le forme che assumono occupando con forza lo spazio e delineano un disegno consapevole.
Il tutto genera un ritmo che si innesta nel gesto sino concludersi in insolite azioni dove i corpi sono li presenti allo stato puro. Le loro posture assumono una saggezza inaudita, come se essi stessi siano consapevoli della portata formale che riescono ad esprimere fotograficamente.
Un tripudio di colori, intensi e fimmanti tanto quando l’energia che divampa in questi luoghi. Le immagini prodotte sono a dir poco l’esatta rapresentazione simbolica in chiave contemporanea di questi paesaggi. Tinte vibranti, terre intense, pelli nere, plastiche e tessuti sono tutti presenti in un rigoglio di colori inebrianti. Un simbolismo atavico fa rieccheggiare preponderanti paure ed invocazioni di un africa ancora piena di esoterismo. Il ritmo di linee forti generato dalla luce e dal colore schiaccia l’immagine formalmente sino a farla diventare bidimenzionale, bidimenzionale come le texture dei tessuti. Le prospettive tridimenzionali si assottigliano tutto quello che si osserva diventa struttura sottile e sofisticata bidimenzionale come un patterns. Un delicato equilibrio tra soggetto, forma, concetto, luogo e narrazione, riempie le immagini di densità di significati. Le immagini rimangono comunque delicate, ingentilite da un tratto poetico, elegante, asciugato quel greve sapore di durezza che ci si aspetta solitamente da questi luoghi, la Sassen riafferma la sua poetica. Pochi sono riusciti a far performare un luogo a questo livello usando la fantasia e l’intuizione creativa partendo dalla realtà con un risultato cosi raffinato.
La messa in scena del reale, il tableau vivant è l’ercizio piu convincente per misurarsi sulla risignificazione della stessa realtà. L’africa diventa un’altra africa. Una privata urgenza, un desiderio di restituire un nuovo significato a questi luoghi, una nuova speranza, una nuova nobiltà di speranza viene restituita a questa gente, a questi luoghi, a questa visione. L’africa di Viviane diventa, da caotica e selvaggia, elegante e ben delineata, quasi meditativa. Vivien riesce ad abbreviare quella distanza sostanziale garantendo la possibilita di stabilire un percorso concettuale tra l’autore e un luogo che è selvaggio per natura. Emerge una complicità aquisita tra l’autore ed il suo teatro AFRICANO.
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source: fotopolispl

Viviane Sassen (1972), holenderska artystka, zdobyła uznanie dzięki wystawom w nowojorskim MoMA oraz zamówieniom składanym przez tak prestiżowe pisma jak “New York Times”. Otrzymała również znaczące nagrody: Prix de Rome, ICP Infinity Award. Ważnym źródłem jej twórczości stał się powrót do Kenii, ziemi, na której się wychowała, oraz wyprawy do innych krajów Afryki. Od ponad dziesięciu lat realizuje tam prace podobne do sennych marzeń, jednocześnie naznaczone głębokim cieniem i przebłyskujące neonowym kolorem. Na tych zdjęciach nie widać wyraźnych granic między dokumentem a fotografią kreacyjną. Prace Sassen czystością koloru i kompozycyjną elegancją przywodzą również na myśl zdjęcia ze świata mody, z którego artystka się wywodzi. Jak sama mówi, podział na fotografię artystyczną i reklamową jest sztuczny i niezrozumiały, dlatego używa własnego języka, swobodnie mieszając różne inspiracje.
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source: photographer

Отношения знания/присвоения/фотографии хорошо иллюстрирует проект фотографа Вивиан Сассен / Viviane Sassen. Вивиан родилась в Голландии, но провела в детстве три года в Африке и это стало для нее, по признанию фотографа, таким важным опытом, что она продолжает ездить туда снимать. Чувствуя себя в Африке как дома, Сассен, тем не менее, осознает, что она там чужая. И герои ее загадочных, контрастных снимков, которых она делает в Замбии, Уганде, Кении и Танзании, словно ускользают от камеры, превращаясь в призраков, растворяющихся при взгляде на них. По словам автора, она сознательно показывает своих героев таким образом, чтобы не позволить зрителю рассмотреть их полностью — тем самым уберегая их от объективации под взглядом другого, чужестранца, от репрезентации в качестве объекта для рассматривания (что часто происходит при съемки «экзотических» персонажей). Часто Сассен нарочно скрывает лица своих героев с помощью определенного поворота головы или располагая их в тени.
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source: bibliobelas

“Viviane Sassen preferia ter sido negra. É uma cor de pele mais agradável, menos nua.” (Edo Dijkerhuis, num ensaio sobre o trabalho dessa fotógrafa holandesa, publicado no livro de fotografias ‘Flamboya‘). Viver os primeiros anos de sua vida num pais da áfrica (kenia) transformou lembranças bem delineadas em fotografias hiper-realistas.
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source: blogvoc

后来是以色列海法和荷兰的生活,并且在2001年带着照相机回到了非洲。她是在专业的时装设计领域中接触到了摄影。她从荒木经惟、南·戈丁、托马斯·鲁夫、安德烈·塞拉诺以及沃尔夫冈·提尔曼斯的作品中汲取营养。她也做过一些时尚摄影家的助手,作品出现在世界一些知名的杂志上。接下来她的父亲去世,她去了非洲,她的第一个孩子诞生。我们曾经在维维安·萨森(Viviane Sassen)以往的系列照片中看到(先前的博客上有过介绍),强烈阳光下闪亮的树叶,色彩明快的服饰,土壤,城市的容颜,还有华丽的风景,以及各种各样的脸,肯尼亚,乌干达,赞姆比亚,加纳,经常隐藏在浓重的阴影中,黝黑的皮肤几乎失去了细节。除了浓郁如同彩虹般的色彩之外,沉重的黑色更能将我们的视线引导到画面的深处。在2010年布灵顿摄影双年展的演讲中,萨森是这样解释她的展览作品的:“阴影将一个人转换成了特殊的符号……从而让这个人不再有什么独特之处;他或她只是代表这一种观念。也就是说,突破了单一的个体而具有了普遍的意义……这也是我们不会看到的东西。”在某种意义上,萨森的照片,尤其是许多非洲和非洲人的画面,都让人感到某种困惑,涉及到后殖民、政治敏感或者国际主义的视点。正是对个体的忽略,反而强化了一种与生俱来的进程,构成对历史、传统以及非洲和西方关系的质疑。但是不管怎么说,萨森的影像所具有的力量,是不可小看的。这些黑暗的虚无,被跳跃的色彩所包围,其目的并不在于记录某个个体,也非对非洲做整体的描述。相反,他们就像是一个神秘的黑色镜面,我们看到了“符号”或者“普遍理念”的折射,尤其是对于西方观众来说,带给他们的正是“我们没有看到的”或者也许就是“我们不想看到的”,从而遭遇了一种非洲的想象。现在我们看到的萨森拍摄于2010年到2011年的最新系列,这样一种黑暗的虚无依旧保留着,但是添加了新的更令人神魂颠倒的元素。那些脸,大多是孩子的、少男少女,依旧是被一些元素所环绕,包括阴影、水、网状物、覆盖的被单、大片的树叶,甚至有人被一本亮丽的粉色教科书所覆盖,或者就是简单地背对照相机。但是一些更具魅力的是静物,交杂在这些画面中,和肖像完全融为一体。我们甚至可以看到一个红色的塑料袋在悬空飞舞,背景是阳光过度照射的墓地。也许正因为是静物不是肖像,因此看上去更显得脆弱无助,成为负担的象征,被深深植入以往的历史记忆,揭示独有的地理空间,更接近于萨森与生俱来的审美品位。这样一种神秘性和迷惑力,也许和一种梦幻的状态有关:就如同睡眠和醒着之间纷繁、毫不经意的复杂一瞥,而非对现实的真实记录。萨森自己近来也这样说:“在非洲的工作为我的潜意识打开了一扇更为宽阔的门,我在那里的时候,梦幻也变得异常鲜艳。”其实,萨森尽管出生和生活在阿姆斯特丹,但是她从两岁到五岁的生活是在肯尼亚度过的,难免不交杂复杂的梦幻色彩。也许我们从画面中可以深深感受到的是她的潜意识,而非非洲自身——非洲只是她的源泉和面对的客体。

那就是说,我们无法参与萨森内心的想象或者梦幻,我们也无法分享她的童年记忆,我们所分享的只能是对数百年特定的历史、人物以及被征服的想象,她的作品将以这样的方式持续下去,我们也只能永远面对黑色笼罩的镜面。其中最令人震撼的就是一张题为“Ayuel”的画面,人物的脸几乎完全隐没到了虚无的黑色中。人物神情冷峻,头戴耳机,黄色的皮带艳丽无比,尤其是蓝色的电线贯穿他的嘴唇,从画面的一端延伸到另一端。这是一幅美丽却令人手足无措的画面,构成了许多陷阱让你沉入想象,甚至可以远至过去的三个世纪,构成种族、文化甚至禁欲等等主题。当然,对于摄影家本身来说,也许她没有想得太多。她只是提出一些问题,“打开潜意识的门”,而非限定你的想象。每一个人都可以从不同的角度去理解,或是结合她童年的非洲记忆,或是从她时尚摄影的职业生涯寻找索引。至于她在近来的访谈中,只是简单地陈述:“我只是想让这些曾经困扰我的影像,也同样困扰其他人。”所以面对这样一种黄色的皮带,蓝色的电线,以及毫无退却的眼神,我们得到的就是这样的提问:我们看到了什么,我们想看到什么?