Anja Niemi’s New Playful and Theatrical Images
Norwegian artist Anja Niemi makes her West Coast debut with an exhibition at Galerie XII in Los Angeles presenting her most recent body of work, “She Could Have Been A Cowboy”, and a unique installation of significant works from her previous series, along with ephemera and props used in her photographs.
Here, 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 character finds herself trapped in the same pink dress while wishing 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.
Over the past decade, Niemi’s work has emerged as a distinctive force within the venerable tradition of conceptual self-portraiture, garnering wide international acclaim including a recent solo exhibition at Fotografiska Stockholm and the publication of her first retrospective monograph, “In Character“, by Thames & Hudson. With her purposeful and elaborate staging, Niemi is photographer, director and lead, inserting herself into the lives of her fictional characters and their stories. Her images offer a multilayered, cinematic exploration of identity, gender roles and, crucially, our relationship with ourselves.