Anja Niemi

The Woman Who Never Existed, 9 March - 30 April 2017

Opening Reception Thursday 9 March 18-20
The artist will be present

Exhibition periode Shoot Gallery, Oslo:
March 9 - April 30, 2017
Tuesday - Sunday 12-17

Anja Niemi’s new series “The Woman Who Never Existed” channels Italian actress Eleonora Duse, celebrated at the turn of the last century for the roles she played around the world. The images are all about the act of disappearing, whether into a role or into thin air—despite her tumultuous life, Duse famously told a journalist that “away from the stage I do not exist.” The series travels from Photo San Francisco to Shoot Gallery in Oslo, Galerie Photo 12 in Paris and The Little Black Gallery in London.

Niemi is once again both photographer and model, creating a fictionalized version of an actress who only exists in front of an audience. In the images, a figure disappears from the painted wings of a theater or dissolves into a lush mural. Or she is transformed with face paint and costume into enacted characters. Duse was a contemporary of Sara Bernhardt, with whom she was often compared. Where Bernhardt was outgoing, Duse was private, preferring to pour herself into the roles she played, an intriguing idea for a photographer who also performs her images.

Norwegian photographer Anja Niemi is an artist playing with notions of self-portraiture and self-identity. She choreographs, stars in and shoots her own images, all of which tell captivating narratives. 

Niemi says her images merges darkness with humour. They hint to the disparity between who we are and how we want to be perceived.”

International Exhibition plan 2017:

Photo San Francisco, 26-29 January
Shoot Gallery Oslo, 9 March - 30 April
Galerie Photo 12 Paris, 16 March - 22 April
The Little Black Gallery London, 4 - 27 May

Norwegian photographer Anja Niemi is considered ‘one of the most compelling modern artists working today’. (British Journal of Photography). Niemi always works alone. Photographing, staging and acting out the characters in all of her photographs.

Her critically acclaimed series: Do Not Disturb (2012), Starlets (2013), Darlene & Me (2015), and Short Stories (2016) has been exhibited at The Little Black Gallery, London. Darlene & Me was exhibited at Photo London (2015), and Short Stories premiered at Photo London (2016). Highlights from Do Not Disturb, Starlets, and Darlene & Me were exhibited in New York in March 2016, and at Salon Zurcher Photo in September 2016.

Niemi´s work is highly collectable – including being part of the Susanne von Meiss Collection (exhibited at C/O Berlin in 2016 with the accompanying book published by Kehrer). Her auction record was achieved in January 2017 when Room 81 (bed), from her Do Not Disturb series, sold for a record $7,000 (almost triple the retail price), by auction house Paddle8.

She has published two books: Photographing In Costume (The Little Black Gallery, 2015) and Short Stories (Jane & Jeremy, 2016). Her third The Woman Who Never Existed will be published by Jane & Jeremy in February 2017.


Niemi (b 1976) studied at the London College of Printing and Parsons School of Design in Paris and New York.

All photos © Anja Niemi

Please explore Anja Niemi´s work in our ONLINE SHOP SECTION 


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