"I was never very good with words, so I needed a way to tell stories without them."

"I was never very good with words, so I needed a way to tell stories without them."

 Anja Niemi
at Burning in Water Gallery
March 2016

The Little Black Gallery London is proud to present Photographing in Costume by Anja Niemi from March 2 – April 2, 2016 at Burning in Water Gallery, New York. Curated by Andi Potamkin Blackmore. Photographing in Costume is Anja Niemi’s first solo show in the United States. 

The exhibition features a site-specific installation and works from Niemi’s last three critically acclaimed series: Darlene & Me, Starlets, and Do Not Disturb. Working alone, Niemi functions as photographer, director, and stylist, as well as subject in all of her work. With her purposeful mise-en-scenes, Niemi invites the viewer to consider the construction of the female both in society and in its mirror image – film. Her staged narratives unite excessive femininity and psychosis with female power and authenticity. The viewer experiences the subconscious taking physical form in order to converse directly with herself. The result is beautifully composed yet haunting self-portraits. 

In Do Not Disturb she uses anonymous locations and typical Norwegian design, the only indicator of place. Opposite of these pristine sets are women who do not carry a perfect façade. Niemi´s multiple roles, both comic and abject, create a juxtaposition of emotion for both the subject and the viewer. The most recent series, Darlene and Me, continues the doubling theme, which also features some of the earlier Starlet images and illustrates the subject’s inner conflicts. The relationships portrayed in this Lynchian California desert are complex as the images show the character both at war and at peace with herself. Resembling film stills, the images depict a sense of reality and imagination, convincing yet dramatic. Niemi’s images provide a scenario and a story vague enough to be left open to interpretation. 

Anja Niemi was born in Norway in 1976 and studied at London College of Printing and Parsons School of Design in Paris and New York. The Little Black Gallery is one of London’s top contemporary photography galleries owned by Tamara Beckwith and Ghislain Pascal. Andi Potamkin Blackmore is an independent curator and founder of Le Mise, a private art and design advisory firm. Burning in Water is a purpose-driven contemporary art initiative whose proceeds help to support their non-profit partner, Free Arts NYC.

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