In fairy tales, the mirror often symbolizes a door to another world. Dutch artist Viviane Sassen (b. 1972) sees her photographic work as a mirror, a means of evoking the world of dreams and exploring the subconscious in everyday moments. The exhibition Hot Mirror, which includes pieces from the past ten years, weaves an astonishing narrative from the work of this internationally acclaimed artist: a sort of self-portrait. Sassen’s photography captures the strange, the magical and the wondrous. Hot Mirror contains images from several of her past series: Flamboya, photographs taken in Kenya, where Sassen spent three years during her childhood; Parasomnia, which seeks to evoke the feeling of dislocation between waking and sleeping; and UMBRA, an exploration of shadow in both the physical and psychological sense. Also included are images from her most recent series, Of Mud and Lotus, in which photographs are transformed through collage and paint with a focus on two of the artist’s recurring themes: maternity and fertility. Last but not least, Sassen invites us into her captivating world with TOTEM, an immersive installation composed of mirrors and moving images. Here, visitors are plunged into an infinite landscape and transformed by cast shadows, their presence interacting with the artist’s projection and adding to its disorienting effect. Sassen’s visual poems themselves act as mirrors, reflecting viewers’ questions back at them rather than providing answers.
The exhibition was produced in collaboration with The Hepworth Wakefield museum in Great Britain and is accompanied by a book in English published by Prestel. The artist is represented by Stevenson Gallery in Cape Town.