A woman stands turned away from us, dressed in classic black dressage pants – hair gently gathered under her helmet by a hairnet. The sleeves of her white blouse are rolled up, torso slightly arched, shoulders together. Her leather riding boots are securely grounded beneath her, preparing to confront the dark void ahead.
The Rider Vol. 1 is an ideological progression from Anja Niemi’s previous series The Blow (2019), in which a female boxer has the lead role. The Blow is an allegory for struggle, and the countless number of conflicts we as humans wrestle with. As with all of Niemi’s work, the narratives she constructs and then performs act as allegorical amplifiers to the conversations that lie beneath.
In her latest series Niemi recreates her character’s struggle in the form of a rider and her horse. Trust and the will to understand each other are essential to their mutual bond. In good times they are one, connected in trust and respect. They are on an open-ended journey, a journey that requires perseverance and the suspension of fear.
Involuntary disembarkation (2021). A jodhpur trapped in a stirrup, with its leather strap tangled and hanging in thin air, hints to events of the past. Reminding us of the traumas that haunt us. The Rider is about the freedom found in progress and the ability to displace fear even if it’s temporary.
The Rider Vol. 1 is a declaration of love, for the creatures the artist simultaneously fears and adores.
Anja Niemi (1976) studied at Parsons School of Design in New York and has exhibited in galleries worldwide. Four monographs of her work have been published and her images are part of various public and private collections. Recent museum exhibitions include Fotografiska (Stockholm and Tallinn), MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, Lisbon), Des Moines Art Center (Iowa) and Figge Art Museum (Davenport).
The Rider Vol. 1
30 October 2021 – 8 January 2022
THE RAVESTIJN GALLERY
1013 BV Amsterdam