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
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.
Do not disturb, 2011