Viviane Sassen

Artist lecture Wednesday, November 02, 2016 7PM
Timken Lecture Hall, California College of the Arts, 1111 Eighth St., San Francisco, CA 94107
Belladonna, 2010.

The aesthetic vocabulary of Dutch photographer Viviane Sassen recalls documentary and staged photography, relying on a visual economy that invites the formulation of multiple interpretations. Her highly distinctive style reflects an innovative and dynamic approach to the medium, producing images with an expressive use of color and tone, unusual viewpoints and sculptural concern with form and shape that often give her compositions a surreal quality. Sassen’s photographs constantly disrupt our usual perceptions; while some are carefully constructed, others are scenes she encountered on her travels, leaving us unable to easily distinguish between imaginary fictions and scenes from life.

Much of Sassen’s work has been informed by early memories of life in Kenya, where she spent three years as a child. When her family returned to the Netherlands, Sassen was troubled: “I didn’t feel like I belonged in Europe, and yet I knew I was a foreigner in Africa,” she says. Far from being political or conceptual, she was drawn by an intuitive experience of reality—her childhood in Africa, her vivid memories and the complexity caused by confrontations between the two cultures—to create photographs that are neither exoticizing nor straightforward reportage

Sassen is lauded for her ability to seamlessly bridge the divide between fine art and fashion photography. Her experimental approaches to the medium extend to her commercial work in which she uses mirrors, scissors, paint and Photoshop to subvert the viewer’s preconceptions about what a fashion photograph is. Of these two strands of her practice, Sassen has remarked, “I’ve never seen myself as a fashion photographer or considered myself to be an artist. I’m neither one nor the other, which is actually a very comfortable place to be.”

Sassen studied fashion design and photography at Hogeschool voor de Kunsten, Utrecht, before receiving an MFA from the Ateliers Arhem in The Netherlands. Sassen has produced numerous publications including Flamboya (2007), Parasomnia (2011), Roxane (2011), Die Son Sien Alles (2012), ETAN & ME (2013), and Pikin Slee (2014). In 2012, In and Out of Fashion—a retrospective of Sassen’s fashion work from the last 17 years—opened at Huis Marseille Museum for Photography in Amsterdam; the exhibition travelled to the Rencontres d’Arles Festival, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Savannah College of Art and Design, Fotografie Forum Frankfurt and Fotomuseum Winterthur. Additionally, she has worked on award-winning campaigns for Stella McCartney, Adidas, Miu Miu, and Missoni, and for magazines such as, i-D, Purple, AnOther Magazine, Dazed & Confused and POP. Sassen has received numerous awards for her work, including the Dutch Prix de Rome (2007) and International Center of Photography’s Infinity Award (2011). She lives and works in Amsterdam.


Larry Sultan Visiting Artist Program

Pier 24 Photography is pleased to present the Larry Sultan Visiting Artist Program in collaboration with California College of the Arts and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Each year, the Larry Sultan Visiting Artist Program brings six photographers, writers, and curators to San Francisco to offer free and open lectures, and to work one-on-one with students at California College of the Arts.

Larry Sultan Photography Award

Marco Breuer, Untitled (C-1189), 2012 [Detail]

Marco Breuer

Spring 2016 Residency
Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, CA

Click HERE for more information on the Larry Sultan Photography Award

Marco Breuer (b. Landshut, Germany) is well known for his radical approach to the photographic medium. Breuer employs nontraditional photographic techniques that do not rely on the use of a camera, aperture, or film, but instead utilize a combination of photogrammic, abrasive, and incisive techniques to make marks and capture images. His work is in numerous public collections at major institutions around the world and is widely exhibited throughout the United States and Europe. Currently residing in upstate New York, Breuer has lectured and taught extensively, and received a Guggenheim fellowship in 2006.