Viviane Sassen: In and Out of Fashion (3 stars)

First ever retrospective of Dutch photographer whose work hovers between fine art and fashion photography

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Viviane Sassen: In and Out of Fashion

Viviane Sassen’s work is located at the intersection of fine art and fashion photography. Primarily focused on the female form, the figures she captures are treated like a sculptural material, moulded and deformed by simple interruptions of light, shadow and mirrors. Occasionally other figures slip between Sassen and her subject. Often her own shadow casts an outline over it, distorting the form through tangled layers that the audience must unravel. The effects are dramatic and surreal, the consequence of the artist’s urgent and impulsive working processes.

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery have taken Sassen’s working methods as a curatorial guide for her debut UK exhibition, In and Out of Fashion. At the entrance, her photographs are projected onto mirrors and sliced up further into strange, distorted films, continually interrupted by the reflection of passing viewers. Another projection scrolls through Sassen’s photographs, creating an endless production line of larger-than-life models. Some images are contained within glass vitrines, forming collages that appear to be thrown together with the same impulsiveness that constructs the images themselves.

The atmosphere of the show is experimental and daring, hovering somewhere between a catwalk show, a theatre and an art gallery – a fitting stage for Sassen’s innovative and unpredictable output.

Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sun 9 Feb 2014

Viviane Sassen: In and Out of Fashion

The first ever retrospective of major Dutch photographer Viviane Sassen (b. 1972), who's produced striking, almost sculptural fashion photography for designers such as Carven, Stella McCartney and M Missoni but whose fine art photography – shot, unlike her fashion work, on film – has a dreamlike and intimate quality.

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