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  • Written by Heather Ekin


The European House of Photography (MEP) in Paris presents PHOSPHOR: Art & Fashion (1990-2023), its first retrospective exhibition of renowned fashion and fine art photographer Viviane Sassen. The display features more than 200 creations, spread across the two main floors of the MEP. Spanning 30 years of work, it comprises of unseen archives and images taken from her trips to Africa, as well as her more experimental and surrealist pieces. It highlights some of her most symbolic series of work including “Umbra”, “Parasomnia”, “Flamboya” and “Roxane”.

The exhibition aims to spotlight Sassen's individualistic approach, focusing on the main themes of her creative process: the search for new photographic forms and the role of intimacy in her work. She considers photography to be a place in which all her dreams, desires and fears reside, which presents itself through her harmonious and unique compositions. Accompanying the exhibition will be a 400-page book designed by graphic designer Irma Boom, combining essays and photographs which will be published by Prestel editions in collaboration with the MEP.

The critically acclaimed Dutch artist was born in Amsterdam in 1972, where she currently lives and works. After originally pursuing fashion at Ateliers Arnhem for a few years, she soon turned her hand to photography where she trained at the Utrecht School of Arts (HKU).

Personal projects alongside advertising work soon made her one of the most in-demand imagemakers in the industry. Her works, often abstractions of bodies, feature themes of highly saturated color, geometric shapes and a graphic play on light and shadow. She merges fashion photography with art mediums including painting and collages to create striking pieces that narrate her inner workings.

Some of Sassens solo exhibitions include In and Out Of Fashion, Huis Marseille, Amsterdam (2012); Foto Kunst Stadforum, Innsbruck, Austria (2017) and Umbra, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago (2017). Over her vast career she has won several awards including the Prix de Rome and the Dutch Art Prize.

PHOSPHOR: Art & Fashion (1990-2023) resides at the MEP until February 11, 2024.





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