Venus & Mercury, 1 June 2020 - 30 August 2020

Eight years after her highly successful and acclaimed exhibition In and Out of Fashion, Viviane Sassen returns to Huis Marseille with the monumental exhibition Venus & Mercury, which will occupy all the rooms and also the garden of the museum. This exhibition originated in Versailles where Sassen created new work, inspired by various histories around the French court in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. She has woven these stories into a melancholic narrative imbued with eroticism, power, intrigue, illness, decay and death. Especially for Huis Marseille, Sassen made a number of installations that refer to its canal houses in relation to the history of Amsterdam in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Many fascinating stories underlie the exhibition Venus & Mercury at Huis Marseille. These are inspired by the lives of Marie-Antoinette, royal mistresses and fortune-tellers and by the histories of eroticism and disease that took place around the French court in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. ‘Venus’ refers to the goddess of love and lust, ‘Mercury’ to mercury, the cure for venereal diseases in the past.

A number of other stories are about Amsterdam from the same period, in particular with regard to Huis Marseille’s seventeenth-century canal houses, about which Caroline Hanken recently wrote the book Een huis genaamd Marseille (A house named Marseille, 2019). Each room tells a separate story; together they form a series of special histories, accompanied by poetic texts by Marjolijn van Heemstra. A number of them are recited by actress Tilda Swinton in a voice-over with a hypnotic video installation. In addition to multimedia installations, unique works made with paint and collage techniques, posters and monumental works will also be on display in the space.

Venus & Mercury, 1 June 2020 - 30 August 2020
Huis Marseille
Amsterdam, the Netherlands