Purple Art

[November 6 2023]

“PHOSPHOR, Art & Fashion, 1990-2023”, an exhibition by Vivianne Sassen at MEP, Paris.

This retrospective showcases Sassen’s diverse body of work, spanning over 30 years and encompassing a rich variety of mediums, including photography, video, collage, painting, and poetry. The exhibition takes viewers on a cyclical journey through the artist’s life’s work, opening and closing with her early forays into art and fashion.The first section features photographs from her formative years in Africa, where the artist grew up. The continent’s influence is evident in Sassen’s aesthetic and characterized by a preference for a poetic style over a documentary one, which she conveys through vibrant colors and striking contrasts. The exhibition culminates in her contributions to the world of fashion, including her works for Purple. In between, visitors encounter surrealistic collages, the “Venus & Mercury” series, shot at Versailles, and a collection of self-portraits that explore the spectrum of eroticism, from masculinity to femininity. Through her photography, the artist uncovers the hidden nuances of sensuality in the sculptures of Versailles and the impassioned correspondence of Marie Antoinette. The entire exhibition vividly captures the artist’s fascination with contrasts and paradoxes, such as the erectile beauty of the female body, the sensual allure of Versailles as a carnal sanctuary, and the enigmatic exploration of self-portraiture.

On view until February 11th at MEP, Paris.

Photos and text by Ewen Giunta

Subscribe to our newsletter