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 Sara 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.
Norwegian photographer Anja Niemi is considered ‘one of the most compelling modern artists working today’. Niemi always works alone. Photographing, staging and acting out the characters in all of her photographs.
Niemi is exclusively represented by The Little Black Gallery who exhibited her critically acclaimed series: Do Not Disturb (2012), Starlets (2013), Darlene & Me (2015), and Short Stories (2016). 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.
Her 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).
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.
Her new series The Woman Who Never Existed will premiere at Photofairs | San Francisco (27-29 January 2017) followed by exhibitions at Shoot Gallery in Oslo (9 March – 30 April 2017), Galerie Photo 12 in Paris (16 March – 22 April), and The Little Black Gallery in London (25 April – 27 May).
Photographing In Costume: highlights from her series Do Not Disturb, Starlets, Darlene & Me, and Short Stories will be exhibited at The Little Black Gallery from 7 February – 2 March 2017. Niemi (b 1976) studied at the London College of Printing and Parsons School of Design in Paris and New York.