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.

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  • Born
    Kent, England, 1978
  • Education

    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

  • 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
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Selected Group Exhibitions

  • 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
  • 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
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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
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  • 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
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  • 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
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Selected Images

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WEB 016 SMITA56216 Ziggy


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Featured Stories

Hauser & Wirth Exhibitions

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WEB 040 SMITA83951

Anj Smith If Not, Winter

16 Mar – 19 May 2018, Zürich


The Land We Live In – The Land We Left Behind

20 Jan – 7 May 2018, Somerset



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