The Rider vol. 1, 2021
Upcoming exhibition: September 2022
The Rider Vol. 1 is a ideological progression from Anja Niemi's previous series "The Blow" (2019) in which a female boxer has the lead role. The Blow is an allegory for struggle, and the countless number of conflicts as humans wrestle with.
In her latest series Niemi recreates her character's struggle in the form of a rider and her horse. Trust and the will to understand each other are essential to their mutual bond. In good times they are one, connected in trust and respect. They are on an open-ended journey, a journey that requires perseverance and the suspension of fear.
The Blow, 2019
The Blow; a work that talks of the need for resilience in the face of hardship and the importance of self belief.
She could have been a cowboy, 2018
In her latest series, Anja Niemi continues her investigations of the self. This time she turns the lens to a life lived under the constraints of conformity. Every day her fictional character finds herself trapped in the same pink dress, but what she really wants is to be a cowboy, dressed in fringe and leather, riding horses in the Wild West. Through this series of photographs with multiple layers and possible interpretations, Niemi delivers her most political work to date.
"The story is not really about being a cowboy. It’s about wanting to be another."
The woman who never existed, 2016
The Woman Who Never Existed by Anja Niemi was inspired by the words of the pioneering Italian actress Eleonora Duse. Eleonora worked the international theatre stage alongside Sarah Bernhardt in the early 20th century. In contrast to Bernhardt's outgoing personality, Duse was introverted and private, rarely giving interviews. She once famously told a pushy New York journalist, that ‘away from the stage I do not exist.’
Niemi takes on the role of a fictional character visualized after reading Eleonora’s words. The Woman Who Never Existed tells the story of an actress who only exists in front of an audience, when no one is looking she starts to disappear.
In the same way as before Niemi works alone. Photographing, staging and acting out the characters in all of her photographs. Very few prints from this series are still available.
Darlene & Me, 2014
The double, as theorised by Freud, plays two roles in relation to our sense of self: first, as part of the child's desire to be multiple, before the ego is established during primary development; and then, as the superego, the critical voice that inhabits each of us.[...] Reminiscent of the self-destructive tendencies of Madeleine/Judy, both played by Kim Novak in Hitchkock's Vertigo, and of Elisabeth/Alma, whose boundaries blur bewitchingly in Bergman's Persona, the level of violent thought at work between the conflicted selves in Darlene and me spells double trouble. Max Houghton
Norway , 1976
Anja Niemi (b. 1976, Norway) always works alone; placing herself within her own meticulous tableaux, she constructs fictional stories where she is both the author and the character. In Darlene & Me (2014), Niemi plays the parts of two identical women living against the backdrop of a sparse, bleached house in the desert. The dualism in each performative photograph speaks clearly of the internal, and often opposing, voices we are all so attune with. In this way, as with all of her work, Niemi appeals to ideas that are innate to the human condition, rather than being confined to a personal mediation. And whilst her poetic narratives are wholly imagined (although frequently inspired by film and literature), they act as an intimate space to catalyse real conversations about identity, conformity and the relationship we have with ourselves.
Anja Niemi studied at the London College of Printing in Paris and Parsons School of Design in New York and has exhibited in galleries worldwide. Four monographs of her work have been published, Short Stories (Jane & Jeremy, 2016), The Woman Who Never Existed (Jane & Jeremy, 2017), She Could Have Been A Cowboy (Jane & Jeremy, 2018) and In Character (Thames & Hudson, 2019). Recent museum exhibitions include Fotografiska (Stockholm and Talinn), MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, Lisbon) and Des Moines Art Center (Iowa). Her work is part of various public and private collections.
Four monographs of her works have alread been published.
Exhibitions and Fairs