Artwork

Viviane Sassen
Coco / Cyanos [from the series Pikin Slee], 2013

  • C-Print
  • 30 x 45 cm and 45 x 30 cm
  • Acquired in 2014

Pikin Slee, the title of Vivian Sassen’s photo series, is a reference to a village in the South American state of Suriname. Around 4,000 people live there, in the midst of the rainforest. Most of the inhabitants are members of the Saramacca tribe, whose ancestors escaped from slavery on the Dutch-run plantations in the 18th century. The inhabitants live their lives largely in seclusion, Pikin Slee can be reached only by taking a long journey by canoe. Sassen’s photographs show industrial products, arranged still-life fashion playing with their light and shade contrasts. There are other photographs showing the natural surroundings and day-to-day activities of the village’s inhabitants. Rather than creating an overview of the Saramacca people and their world, Sassen focuses on details. In this way, the seen elements and the new inventions come together to create a new narrative. In Cyanos, for instance, Sassen painted a boy with blue paint, a recurring stylistic device in her photographs.

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