Viviane Sassen
PHOSPHOR: Art & Fashion

Press release | Amsterdam, July 2024

Foam is thrilled to present the first large-scale retrospective of the Dutch fashion photographer and artist Viviane Sassen in the Netherlands. The exhibition PHOSPHOR: Art & Fashion, which comprises more than 200 works, reveals over thirty years of her multifaceted carreer bringing together photography, collage, painting and video. The exhibition serves a significant homecoming for Sassen, following her first museum showcase at Foam in 2008 titled Flamboya.

Man carrying child on his head

DNA, from the series Lexicon, 2007

© Viviane Sassen and Stevenson (Johannesburg / Cape Town / Amsterdam).

Collage of woman and bird

Eudocimus Ruber, from the series Of Mud and Lotus, 2017

© Viviane Sassen and Stevenson (Johannesburg / Cape Town / Amsterdam).

Nude self-portrait in BW

Self Portrait, 1990

© Viviane Sassen and Stevenson (Johannesburg / Cape Town / Amsterdam).

Girl in tennis dress

Adidas X Pharrell, 2017

© Viviane Sassen and Stevenson (Johannesburg / Cape Town / Amsterdam).

A girl and a horse

Dior, 2019

© Viviane Sassen and Stevenson (Johannesburg / Cape Town / Amsterdam).

The Dutch contemporary artist Viviane Sassen rapidly gained worldwide recognition, both in the fashion industry and in the photography world. Her distinctive and eclectic visual oeuvre will fill almost the entire building of Foam. This exhibition will shed light on Sassen’s creative process by focusing on two main themes: the incessant search for new photographic forms and the importance of intimacy in her work.

The exhibition features iconic series, including Flamboya (2008), Umbra (2014) and Parasomnia (2011), along with unseen archives, mixed-media works that blend photography, painting, collage and video. Sassen's fashion photography for brands such as Louis Vuitton and Dior will be presented in a monumental installation. Early experiments with objects from her personal archives, her initial self-portraits, and her final photo project from her studies illustrate the beginnings of Sassen's visual language. These images are being showcased for the first time in the exhibition PHOSPHOR: Art & Fashion.

Sassen's oeuvre explores both the depths of human emotion and the boundaries of artistic expression. Death, sexuality, desire and connection with others are all motifs that structure her work. Renowned for her adept use of saturated colours, mastery of light and shadow, and distinctive depictions of the human body, Sassen's work is a testament to her artistic language. For Sassen, photography is a magical medium. For her, photography is like a mirror that reflects what is already inside us, and likewise a portal to another universe with infinite possibilities. She sees endless worlds to discover.

Viviane Sassen

The exhibition is organised in collaboration with The MEP in Paris and their curator Clothilde Morette and was shown during Kyotographie in Japan and at Fotografiska in Shanghai. Now the exhibition is coming to Sassen's hometown.

About the artist

Viviane Sassen (1972, Amsterdam) is a mixed-media artist. She studied fashion design, followed by photography at the Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU). Sassen spent her childhood in Kenia, where her experiences served as the initial inspiration for her images. She later returned to Africa, creating the series Flamboya (2008), Parasomnia (2011), and Lexicon (2014), through which she gained recognition with a broader audience. Sassen is acclaimed for both her visual art and innovative fashion photography, with numerous publications in her name, including in New York Times Magazine, i-D, Numéro, POP, AnOther, and Dazed. Additionally, she has collaborated with renowned fashion brands such as Miu Miu, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Cartier, Armani, and Hermès. Her work has been exhibited worldwide, and in 2007 she was awarded the Dutch art prize Prix de Rome.

Viviane Sassen – PHOSPHOR: Art & Fashion can be seen from 21 September 2024 – 12 January 2025 at Foam. Open daily 10am - 6pm, Thurs/Fri 10am - 9pm.

Keizersgracht 609
1017 DS Amsterdam
The Netherlands
+ 31 (0)20 5516500

Note to editors

For information and visual material please check or contact the Press Office of Foam on +31 (0)20 5516500 /

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