Direct from Venice Biennale 2013, the City Gallery delivers Lexicon. It is an exhibit by well known Dutch fashion and art photographer named Viviane Sassen. All the snaps in Lexicon were clicked in Africa. Viviane spent 3 years of her childhood in a village in Kenya. Later, when she was five years old, she and her family came back to the Netherlands. She told that her childhood days spent in Africa was a shaping experience for her.
Viviane Sassen told that to her, Africa is all about strong contrasts and vivid colors of dark and light. Working in Africa opens the doors of his subconscious widely. His dreams are vivid when she is there.
Africa is a ladened subject for Western artists.
She told that she is aware of the whole debate about her drawing black people in Africa as a white European woman, and of her being in control because she is carrying the camera. But, she is not really much interested in that argument because her work comes from a very private and personal place. When she is in Africa, she feels like she is coming home. Still, she also feels that she is not one of them.
Last year, Robert Leonard, the City Gallery’s chief curator Viviane’s Lexicon at Venice Biennale last year. He told that at first, she was totally baffled. He did not know how to read it as staged or as documentary, as fiction or fact. The work was haunted by politics, but he could not tell whether they were the photographer’s or his own. Then he realized that Sassen was intentionally provoking the mix-up situation.