Paint Studies, 2021
Viviane Sassen’s language shifted when she introduced ink, paint and collage to her photographic practice, deepening the surrealist and sculptural element in her imagery. Her experiments with uncanny shadows, fragmented bodies and dream-like landscapes project mundane scenes into the realm of the fantastical. In other instances, the chasm between reality and the imagined is more subtle; the viewer is seduced by the texture of Sassen’s constructions, while simultaneously disoriented by her unexpected moments of fiction.
Sassen’s recent studio work offers an intimate look into the formal inventions now characteristic of her practice. New, unseen photographs as well as images from early series have become canvases for sketches or studies, small visual poems, each reimagined with ink and painterly marks.
Sassen says: ‘[There is a] tension between the pristine surface of the photograph and the paint which gives its structure an extra dimension ... The inks highlight an uncontrollable nature – they flow and ebb’, forming their own shape.
‘This summer the roses are blue; the wood is of glass. The earth, draped in its verdant cloak, makes as little impression upon me as a ghost: It is living and ceasing to live that are imaginary solutions. Existence is everywhere.’
– Viviane Sassen, Surrealist Manifesto