Anj Smith

Photo: Anj Smith

‘I love the idea that painting, pointless technologically, can still hypnotise and seduce us. For me, this is where the uniquely profound nature of painting is located, as no other medium offers this specific legacy. Its multiple deaths, resuscitations and evolutions make it especially apt in negotiating the great global & personal uncertainties of now. This difficult, baggage-ridden, faltering yet essentially surviving medium enables me to excavate often-overlooked art histories. These then filter down, combining with my lived experiences to form the layers of the work. Painting can facilitate the complexity of all of this, allowing me to explore the very edges of representation.’

Anj Smith’s intricately rendered paintings explore issues of identity, eroticism, mortality, and fragility. Within her remarkably detailed works, wildly feral landscapes, ambiguous figures, textiles, and rare and exotic flora and fauna are used, to investigate the possibility of a contemporary sublime. Drawing upon sources as disparate as the works of Lucas Cranach, and the couture of Madam Grès (as examples), Smith weaves archaic traditions and contemporary signs together into a personal cosmology. In Smith’s luscious visual language she embraces the instability of meaning, exploring shifting boundaries, disintegration and the liminal. Her paintings are rich in detail, color and texture, collapsing strict definitions of portraiture, landscape and still-life whilst allowing elements of each to coexist.


Born Kent, England, 1978


BA Fine Art (Painting), Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, London, England, 2002
Postgraduate Diploma, Fine Art, Goldsmiths College, University of London, England, 2003
MA Fine Art, Goldsmiths College, University of London, England, 2005

Resides Lives and works in London, England

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2019 Mostyn, 'Anj Smith', Llandudno, Wales
Museo Poldi Pezzoli, 'The Contemporary at Poldi Pezzoli: Anj Smith - The Mountain of the Muse', Milan, Italy

2018 Sara Hildén Art Museum, Tampere, Finland
Hauser & Wirth, Zurich, Switzerland

2015 Hauser & Wirth, 'Phosphor on the Palms', London, England

2013 Hauser & Wirth, 'The Flowering of Phantoms', New York NY

2012 Galerie Isa, 'Woods Without Pathways', Mumbai, India

2011 IBID PROJECTS, 'States of Fragility', London, England

2010 Hauser & Wirth, 'Geometry of Bliss', New York NY

2007 Nyehaus, 'Paintings', New York NY

2006 IBID PROJECTS, 'Feral Demosphere', London, England
Rental Gallery, 'Anj Smith & IBID PROJECTS LA', Los Angeles CA

2005 IBID PROJECTS, 'Disco Substratum', Vilnius, Lithuania

2004 IBID PROJECTS, 'The Megalography of Cuteness', London, England
BUAG, 'Anj Smith', Bangkok, Thailand

Selected Group Exhibitions

2019 Malborough Gallery, ‘The Smiths’, London, England
Hudson Valley MOCA, ‘Where is the Madness You Promised Me: Dystopian Paintings from the Marc and Livia Straus Family Collection’, Peekskill NY
Zabludowicz Collection, ‘World Receivers’, London, England

2018 Museum Morsbroich, ‘The Pliable Plan. Rococo in Contemporary Art’, Leverkusen, Germany
Hauser & Wirth Somerset, 'The Land We Live In – The Land We Left Behind', Somerset, England
Museum Morsbroich, ‘The Pliable Plan: The Rococo in Contemporary Art’, Leverkusen, Germany

2017 Hauser & Wirth Zürich, 'Salon', Zürich, Switzerland
Fondazione Stelline, 'The New Frontiers of Painting', Milan, Italy
Wilkinson, 'A Landscape', London, England

2016 The Nunnery Gallery, '2016 Bow Open Show: curated by Anj Smith', London, England
Marc Straus, 'If only Bella Abzug were here', New York NY
Museum Arnhem, 'Queensize. Female Artists from the Olbricht Collection', Arnhem, Netherlands (Travelling Exhibition)
me Collectors Room Berlin, 'Queensize. Female Artists from the Olbricht Collection', Berlin, Germany (Travelling Exhibition)

2015 The David Roberts Art Foundation, 'The Violet Crab At Draf', London, England
The College, Central St Martins, ‘A Beautiful Darkness: curated by Nick Knight', London, England
Sir John Soane’s Museum, 'Inspired by Soane: I found this and thought of you', London, England

2014 SHOWstudio, 'SHOWcabinet: curated by Anj Smith’, London, England
Newlyn Art Gallery, '3am: wonder, paranoia and the restless night', Cornwall, England
(Travelling Exhibition)
Ferens Art Gallery, '3am: wonder, paranoia and the restless night', Hull, England (Travelling Exhibition)

2013 The Bluecoat, '3am: wonder, paranoia and the restless night', Liverpool, England (Travelling Exhibition)
Chapter, '3am: wonder, paranoia and the restless night', Cardiff, England
(Travelling Exhibition)

2012 Anthony Reynolds Gallery, 'The Curator's Egg Altera Pars', London, England
Attingham Park, 'House of Beasts', Shrewsbury, England
Villa Jauss, 'Überall und nigends. Werke aus der Sammlung Reydan Weiss', Oberstdorf, Germany

2011 La Maison Rouge, 'Memories of the Future, the Olbricht Collection', Paris, France
SHOWstudio, 'In Your Face', London, England
Marianne Boesky Gallery, 'Night Scented Stock', New York NY
Villa Tokyo, 'Night Scented Stock', Tokyo, Japan
Meadow Arts, 'House of Beasts', Attingham Park, Shrewsbury, England
Alison Jacques Gallery, 'Among Flesh', London, England
IBID PROJECTS, 'Group Show', London, England
Villa Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

2010 me Collector's Room, 'The Wunderkammer', Berlin, Germany
Kunsthalle Krems, 'Lebenslust und Totentanz', Krems, Austria

2009 'Remap2,' Athens, Greece
Marianne Boesky Gallery, 'Your Gold Teeth II', New York NY

2008 IBID PROJECTS (Hoxton Sq), 'Group Show', London, England
CCA Andratx, 'M25 Around London', Mallorca, Spain
KMA Knoxville Museum of Art, 'Size Matters: XS – Recent Small-Scale Painting', Knoxville TN (Travelling Exhibition)
Neues Museum Weserberg Bremen, 'Doktors Traum', Bremen, Germany
Blondeau Fine Art Services, 'In Geneva No One Can Hear You Scream', Geneva, Switzerland

2007 Project Space 176, 'An Archeology', London, England
HVCCA Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, 'Size Matters: XS - Recent Small-Scale Paintings', Peekskill NY (Travelling Exhibition) Hauser & Wirth Colnaghi, 'Old School', London, England
Palais Enzenberg, 'The Teardrop Explodes', Schwaz, Austria
Thomas Dane Gallery, 'Very Abstract and Hyper Figurative', London, England
Allston Skirt Gallery, 'Love in a Cold Climate', Boston MA
Zabludowicz Collection, 'An Archaeology', London, England

2006 Grieder Contemporary, 'Kaminzimmer', Kuesnacht, Switzerland
Witte de With, 'Don Quijote', Rotterdam, Netherlands
Robert Miller Gallery, 'Opterracuna', New York NY
Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, 'Only the Paranoid Survive', Peekskill NY

2005 Galleria Zero,'Jaybird', Milan, Italy
Hauser & Wirth Zürich, 'London In Zurich', Zurich, Switzerland
Sartorial Contemporary Art, 'Dolore', London, England
Vamiali Gallery, 'Sunset in Athens', Athens, Greece

2004 Cooper Gallery, 'Life Of a Commercial Gallery – IBID PROJECTS', Dundee, England
FA Projects, 'EXS An Invitational Exhibition', London, England
Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art, 'The Analysis of Beauty', Sunderland, England
Danielle Arnaud Contemporary Art, 'Transmogrifications', London, England

2003 OLS & Co., 'Nth Exhibit 001', London, England
IBID PROJECTS, 'Someplace Unreachable', London, England
Tate Britain, 'The Golden Resistance', London, England
Nerd, Electricity Showrooms, 'Thriller', London, England

Awards and Grants

2004 Residency and Solo Exhibition, BUAG, Bangkok, Thailand

2002 Arts and Humanities Research Board Award, England

2001 The Pocock School Exchange competition to New York NY

2000 The Slade School of Fine Art Exchange competition to New York NY

1999 Wykeham Painting Prize, Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, London, England



2019 Soikkonen, Sarianne, ‘Anj Smith: Sea Lily, Feather Star’, Tampere: Sara Hildén Art Museum


2018 Kreuzer, Stefanie, ‘Der Flexible Plan: Das Rokoko In Der Gegenwartskunst’, Dortmund: Verlag Kettler, 2018
Rideal, Liz, Soriano, Kathleen, 'Madam & Eve. Women Portraying Women', London: Laurence King Publishing Ltd, 2018

2017 Paparoni, Demetrio (ed.), 'Le nuove frontiere della pittura', Milan/IT: Skira, 2017 (exh. cat.)

2015 Graef, Nicola, Olbricht, Claudia (et at), 'Queensize – Female Artists from the Olbricht Collection', Berlin: argobooks, 2015 (exh. cat.)

2014 Beers, Kurt, '100 Painters of Tomorrow', London: Thames & Hudson, 2014

2013 The Bluecoat (ed), '3am: wonder, paranoia and the restless night', Liverpool: Liverpool University Press/The Bluecoat, 2013, unpaginated, ill.
Léith, Caoimhín Mac Giolla, Gingeras, Alison, 'ANJ SMITH. Paintings', London: MACK, 2013
Unterdörfer, Michaela (ed.), 'Hauser & Wirth.20 Years', Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz, 2013

2012 Galerie Isa (ed.), 'Anj Smith. Woods Without Pathways', Mumbai: Prodon, 2012

2011 Price, Matt (ed.), 'Vitamin P2: New Perspectives in Painting', London: Phaidon, 2011

2007 Schwabsky, Barry, Schafhausen, Nicolaus, 'Anj Smith : Paintings', New York: Nyehaus/ New York: Foundation 20 21, 2007

2005 Hauser & Wirth (ed.), 'London in Zurich', Dallenwil: Druckerei Odermatt, 2005


2019 __, ‘fornasetti unfolds a universe of creations and cultural projects for milan design week’, on:, Milan, Italy, 20 April 2019
__, ‘Cosa fare alla Design Week’, on:, Milan, Italy, 8 April 2019
Canci, Cristina, ‘Anj Smith al Museo Poldi Pezzoli con: the Mountain of the Muse’, in: For, Milan, Italy, 5 April 2019
__, ‘The new Fornasetti rug collection’, in: Tutto Milano, Milan, Italy, 4 April 2019
__, ‘Fornasetti alla Milan Design Week con nuove creazioni’, on:, Rome, Italy, 3 April 2019
__, ‘Smith Allo Specchio Del Poldi Pezzoli’, in: Arte, Milan, Italy, 3 April 2019
__, ‘Mostra Anj Smith. The Mountain of the Muse. Il contemporaneo al Poldi Pezzoli - Milano’, on:, Milan, Italy, 23 March 2019
__, ‘Il contemporaneo al Poldi Pezzoli: le opere di Anj Smith in mostra’, in: Finestre sull’ Arte, Milan, Italy, 20 March 2019
__, ‘10 Art Exhibits to Scope out in March’, on: , New York NY, 1 March 2019

2018 Jansen, Charlotte, 'Anj Smith: making sense of desire and anxiety through a painter’s forensic language' on:, London/UK, 22 March 2018
__, 'Anj Smith. If Not, Winter' on:, Paris/FR, March 2018

(cont'd) Szczesniak, Paulina, 'Anj Smith. Abstrus' in: Züritipp, Tanges-Anzeiger, Zurich/CH, 15-21 March 2018
__, 'Anj Smith: If Not, Winter' on:, Zurich/CH, 6 March 2018
Cooper, Suzanne, 'Rural revolution' in: Country Life, London/UK, 7 March 2018
__, 'Anj Smith. If Not, Winter' on:, Paris/FR, March 2018
Szczesniak, Paulina, 'Anj Smith. Abstrus' in: Züritipp, Tanges-Anzeiger, Zurich/CH, 15-21 March 2018
__, 'Anj Smith: If Not, Winter' on:, Zurich/CH, 6 March 2018
Cooper, Suzanne, 'Rural revolution' in: Country Life, London/UK, 7 March 2018
__, 'Anj Smith If Not, Winter' on:, Paris/FR , 20 March 2018
__, 'An Alternative History of Art. Eileen Agar' on:, London/UK, March 2018
__, ''If Not, Winter' by Anj Smith at Hauser & Wirth, Zürich' on:, London/UK, 26 February 2018

2017 Gerlis, Melanie, 'Adventurous art collection of Jerome and Ellen Stern comes to Sotheby’s', on:, London, UK, 20 September 2017

2016 Wright, Karen, 'Anj Smith, artist: 'I get through a brush a day. By the end of the day they're knackered.' in: The Independent, Saturday Edition, Radar, London/UK, 19 March 2016
Wright, Karen, 'Anj Smith, artist: 'I get through a brush a day. By the end of the day they're knackered.' on:, London/UK, 18 March 2016

2015 Clausner, Amber 'Anj Smith; 'Phosphor on the Palms' at Hauser & Wirth', on:, 15 November 2015
Pomar, Aina, 'I don't want to plateau as a painter; I don't want to get comfortable - an interview with Anj Smith', on:, Brussels/BE, 3 November 2015
Barnes, Freire, 'Talking Pictures: Anj Smith' in: Time Out London, London/UK, 27 October 2015
___, 'Anj Smith – Noblesse Oblige',, Paris/FR, 22 October 2015
Barnes, Freire, 'I hadn't realised how labyrinthine sexuality is', on:, London/UK, 21 October 2015
McKay, Anna, 'Anj Smith: 'The figure is a device on which to hang my concerns', on:, New York NY, 2 October 2015
___, 'Anj Smith: Phosphor on the Palms', in: Mousse, Milan/IT, October – November 2015, p.300
___, 'New Establishment', in: Elephant Magazine, London/UK, Autumn 2015, pp. 66 - 69
___, 'Exhibition Review, Anj Smith: 'Phosphor on the Palms' Hauser & Wirth London Till Nove 21st 2015', on:, London/UK, 30 September 2015
___, 'New Paintings Of Anj Smith At London's Hauser & Wirth', in: Antiques & the Arts Weekly', London/UK, September 2015
Warde-Aldam, Digby, 'London Diary', on:, London/UK, 29 September 2015
Nathanson, Hannah, 'Anj Smith: Art's Russian Doll', on:, London/UK, 29 September 2015
Abrams, Amah-Rose, '10 Must-See Gallery Shows in London During Frieze Week', on:, Berlin/DE, 28 September 2015
___, 'Verging on the Liminal', in: Mayfair Times, London/UK, September 2015, p. 60
Dymoke, Alex, 'Devilsh Detail', in: City AM Bespoke, London/UK, September 2015, pp. 8-9
Klingelfuss, Jessica, 'Anj Smith explores the beauty of nature's ugliness in new solo exhibition', on:, London/UK, 23 September 2015
Feriguitt, Lucia, 'How To Become a Successful Artist', on:, London/UK, 22 September 2015
___, 'Anj Smith', in: The Guardian Guide, London/UK, 19 September 2015
Banks, Grace, 'Anj Smith on her latest solo show at Hauser & Wirth London', on:, Jersey City/NJ, 18 September 2015
Hegert, Natalie, 'The First of Fall: 10 Painting Exhibitions Opening in September 2015', on:, London/UK, 2 September 2015
___, 'Anj Smith: Phosphor on the Palms', in: The American, London/UK, September – October 2015
___, 'Anj Smith to Open Phosphor on the Palms at Hauser & Wirth London', on:, London/UK, 31 August 2015
___, 'September Forecast | London Galleries', on:, 20 August 2015
___, 'Aj Smith: Phosphor on the Palms, Hauser & Wirth', on:, London/UK, 29 July 2015
__, 'All The World’s Exhibitions', in, [PUBLIC ART], Seoul, Korea, pp. 41 – 49, March 2015
Menkes, Suzy, 'Suzy Menkes: Savage Beauty Indeed', on:, New York NY, 10 March 2015
Smith, Anj, 'ALEXANDER McQUEEN: SAVAGE BEAUTY', in: V&A Magazine, London UK, pp. 50 – 51. Spring 2015, ill. colour

2013 ___, 'Anj Smith is ON OUR RADAR: The Painter's 'The flowering Of Phantoms' Opens At Hauser & Wirth' on:, 14 January, 2013
Farago, Jason, 'Vivid Detail: Anj Smith opening in New York', on:, New York NY, 7 January 2013, ill.
Lockhart, Siobhan, 'Local artist heads across the pond for New York opening', on:, London, 14 January 2013, ill.
Zabludowicz, Tiffany, 'Anj Smith's True Nature', on:, New York NY, January 2013, ill.

2012 ___,'British Artist Anj Smith on her debut exhibition in India' in: Time Out Mumbai, 31 August 2012
Adeli, Jamila, 'The Present is in the Detail. Reflections on the Contemporary: The Psychoscapes of Anj Smith' in 'Anj Smith. Woods Without Pathways', Mumbai: Prodon, 2012

2011 ___,'States of Fragility: A solo exhibition by Anj Smith', in:, 5 September 2011
___,'Tokyo: A Global Village for Art', in Art in America, New York NY, November 2011, p.30
___,'The World's Best Secret Art Galleries', in: The Independent, London, 8 October 2011, pp.19-25
Bonham-Carter, Charlotte, 'Anj Smith', in: Flash Art, Milan, Italy, November/December 2011, p.99
Helander, Bruce, 'Anj Smith Artist to Watch', in: The Art Economist, New York NY, January 2011, p. 71
Marris, Kate, 'Louise Despont, Jutta Koether, Alicja Kwade, Anj Smith, Marianne Vitale, Unica Zürne' in:, 5 July 2011
Smith, Roberta, 'Art in Review: Night Scented Stock', in: New York Times, New York NY, 13 October 2011

2010 ___, 'Entschlüsseln, verschlüsseln- ein Schwebezustand verlangt nach Neukodierung', in: Kunst und Auktionen, New York NY, 8 October 2010, p.10
___,'Anj Smith', in: The New Yorker', New York NY, 27 September 2010, p. 14
Merjian, Ara H., 'Anj Smith. Hauser & Wirth', in: Art in America, November 2010, New York NY, p. 179
Pedro, Laila, 'Strange Bliss: Anj Smith at Hauser and Wirth', in: Idiom, New York NY, 13 September 2010
Schwan, Andrea, 'Spotlight On English Artist Anj Smith, Texture and Magic Realism', in: The Huffington Post, New York NY, 16 September 2010
Straus, Marc, 'Contemporary Art Market- Fall 2010', in: Flash Art, Milan, Italy, November/December 2010, p. 36
Yablonsky, Linda, 'Lust for Life', in: Artforum, September 2012, New York NY

2009 Jury, Louise, 'Anj Smith' in: London Evening Standard, London, August 2009
Love, Emma, 'In Print' in: Vogue, New York NY, September 2009

2008 Ward, Ossian, Sumpter, Helen, 'London's 40 Best Artists', in: Time Out, London, 21 October 2008

2007 Schwender, Martha, 'Anj Smith', in: The New York Times, New York NY, 6 April 2007
Schwender, Martha, 'Old School', in: The New York Times, New York NY, August 2007

2006 ___,'Anj Smith', in: Tema Celeste, March/April 2006
___,'Most Exciting City', in: Wallpaper, London, February 2005, p. 152
Commandeur, Ingrid, 'The Logic of Excess: The Obsessive Paintings of Anj Smith', in: Metropolis M, The Netherlands, August/September 2006
Neal, Jane, 'Anj Smith at IBID Projects' in: Saatchi Gallery online, November 2006
Sumpter, Helen, 'Anj Smith', in: Time Out, 1 November 2006, p. 43

2005 ___,'Haute Couture Paveikasi', in: Ieva, May 2005
Cochrane, Lauren, 'Artistic Endeavour', in: Vogue UK, London, December 2005
Geldar, Rebecca, 'This is the future', in: Time Out, 12 October 2005
O'Keeffe, Alica, 'The new art elite: Young, Gifted, Female', in: The Observer, London, 23 October 2005

2004 Edwards, Charlotte, '20 Best Graduates', in: Art Review, July 2004
Eyre, Hermione, 'Anj Smith', in The Independent on Sunday, London, 24 October 2004
Geldard, Rebecca, 'Anj Smith', in: Time Out, London, June 2004
Manacorda, Francesco, 'Esoteria and The Megalography Of Cuteness', in: Metropolis M, The Netherlands, Nr 4, 2004, p. 139
Warren, Catriona', London's top 25 new artists', in: Art Review, June/July 2004

2003 Schmitz, Edgar, 'Someplace Unreachable', in: Kunstforum International, November/December 2003, Issue 167, p.345 – 346

Selected Images

Installation view, ‘The Contemporary at Poldi Pezzoli: Anj Smith. The Mountain of the Muse’, Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan, Italy, 2019

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