Venus and Mercury
First edition first impression (one of 1000 copies) in new condition, each copy has an original colour painted hand imprint by Viviane Sassen on the cover of the case.
A storied site of history, opulence, and political power, France’s Palace of Versailles has long captured the imagination of both the public and many acclaimed photographers. In 2018, Viviane Sassen was invited by Versailles to make a series of photographs throughout its vast grounds. For six months, she was given free rein, often after official hours, when the buildings were empty, to wander and photograph the palace’s extravagant gardens, gilded baroque interiors, and even Marie Antoinette’s private correspondence.
Venus & Mercury is Versailles as you’ve never seen the storied locale before. Drawn to the bodies represented in the palace’s many marble statues, Sassen created hybrid forms that play with notions of sexuality and gender and call to mind traditions of Surrealist art and the work of figures such as Hans Bellmer. The book, featuring more than one hundred images, brims with Sassen’s surprising, pigment-splashed photomontages that play with vivid color and abstracted forms—and a group of women, born and raised in the town beyond the palace walls, appears throughout the book, modern-day protagonists photographed within grand palatial chambers.