STEVENSON, Johannesburg, South Africa 12 Apr 2017 - 12 May 2017
Viviane Sassen, Ra, 2017, digital print on EHM Epson matt paper, 125 x 100cm
Stevenson presents Viviane Sassen’s Of Mud and Lotus, the artist’s first solo exhibition in Johannesburg, her fourth with the gallery.
As the title suggests with its reference to mud being fundamental for the growth of the lotus, the exhibition engages in a conversation on transformation, procreation and fecundity, all elements traditionally ascribed to the idea of the feminine.
Experimenting with collages and unique hand-coloured pieces, Sassen creates images in which abstraction and performance intertwine. In this evocative and imaginary realm of intense colour and textures, the imagery is rich with associative references that allow for layered readings and responses. Very little is what it seems at first sight.
Dense clusters of fungi and spores are reminiscent of the proliferating living cells. Organic materials such as eggs, milk, flowers and natural dyes are prominent in the imagery of female figures, enhancing a sense of their sinuosity in the natural world. Her new works also include seemingly abstract compositions: mundane objects and apparently incidental motifs are transformed with collage, filters and streaks of pigment to the point of where their original forms lie unrecognisable below Sassen’s interventions.