With her highly original and at times provocative practice, Viviane Sassen is one of Europe’s most exciting photographers. In and Out of Fashion is the first full retrospective of her fashion work, showing a selection of more than 300 photographs from the past seventeen years. Sassen is celebrated for breaking free from many of the clichés of the fashion industry, developing a style that is both playful and formally inventive. She regards fashion photography as a kind of ‘laboratory’, working with models, stylists and make-up artists in a process that is both fluid and experimental. Sassen pushes the model’s body to the limits of abstraction, utilising strong colours, deep shadows and props such as mirrors to challenge the viewer’s perception. At once performative and highly stylised, she takes fashion photography to the very edge of legibility.
Designed by Sassen herself, In and Out of Fashion presents an innovative installation, including a projection that mimics the form of a catwalk itself. It includes photographs taken for advertising campaigns of major fashion houses such as M Missoni, Stella McCartney–Adidas and Louis Vuitton, as well as the magazines Pop, Wallpaper, Purple, Kutt and Dazed & Confused. With the title ‘Foreplay’ a section of the exhibition is devoted to the moments before a fashion shoot begins, revealing Sassen’s creative process at its purest. As its title suggests, In and Out of Fashion crosses boundaries and mixes up genres, challenging the fashion industry to be more visually inventive.