Viviane Sassen, 2006
Lilac from the series Flamboya
Lilac shows a loving entanglement, in which two models appear to merge as one with their intertwined limbs. The photograph is part of the Flamboya series, which for a large part consists of portraits of young Africans in Zambia, Kenya, and Tanzania. They were often constructed as part of an intuitive collaboration with the subject. Remarkably, it is often impossible to see the subject’s expression: the face and parts of the body tend to be wrapped within a shadow, turning away from the viewer or only display the lower half of the body. This makes it hard to identify with the subject in the photo. The (in)ability to properly register a person’s identity, the limitations preventing the viewer from forming an accurate picture, and the role of photography are recurring themes in Sassen’s work. She plays an intriguing game with perception, undermining our assumptions and stereotypes.
© Viviane Sassen, courtesy of the Foam Collection