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 anxiety. 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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Anj Smith


Print Biography
Kent, UK, 1978

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

Lives and works in London, UK

Selected Solo Exhibitions

The Perimeter, 'Anj Smith. Where the Mountain Hare has Lain', London, UK
Museo Stefano Bardini, 'Anj Smith. A Willow Grows Aslant the Brook', Florence, Italy (Travelling Exhibition)
The New Art Gallery Walsall, 'Anj Smith. A Willow Grows Aslant the Brook', Walsall, UK (Travelling Exhibition)
Mostyn, 'Anj Smith', Llandudno, UK
Museo Poldi Pezzoli, 'The Contemporary at Poldi Pezzoli. Anj Smith The Mountain of the Muse', Milan, Italy
Sara Hildén Art Museum, Tampere, Finland
Hauser & Wirth, Zurich, Switzerland
Hauser & Wirth, 'Phosphor on the Palms', London, UK
Hauser & Wirth, 'The Flowering of Phantoms', New York NY
Galerie Isa, 'Woods Without Pathways', Mumbai, India
IBID PROJECTS, 'States of Fragility', London, UK
Hauser & Wirth, 'Geometry of Bliss', New York NY
Nyehaus, 'Paintings', New York NY
IBID PROJECTS, 'Feral Demosphere', London, UK
Rental Gallery, 'Anj Smith & IBID PROJECTS LA', Los Angeles CA
IBID PROJECTS, 'Disco Substratum', Vilnius, Lithuania
IBID PROJECTS, 'The Megalography of Cuteness', London, UK
BUAG, 'Anj Smith', Bangkok, Thailand
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Selected Group Exhibitions

Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, 'Stretching the Body', Turin, Italy
Iwaki City Art Museum, 'New Word. The Power of Dreams', Fukushima, Japan
Schinkel Pavillon, 'Sun Rise | Sun Set', Berlin, Germany
Malborough Gallery, 'The Smiths', London, UK
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, UK
Museum Morsbroich, 'The Pliable Plan. Rococo in Contemporary Art', Leverkusen, Germany
Hauser & Wirth, 'The Land We Live In. The Land We Left Behind', Bruton, Somerset, UK
Hauser & Wirth, 'Salon', Zurich, Switzerland
Fondazione Stelline, 'The New Frontiers of Painting', Milan, Italy
Wilkinson, 'A Landscape', London, UK
The Nunnery Gallery, '2016 Bow Open Show', cur. by Anj Smith, London, UK
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)
The David Roberts Art Foundation, 'The Violet Crab At Draf', London, UK
The College, Central St Martins, ‘A Beautiful Darkness', cur. by Nick Knight', London, UK
Sir John Soane’s Museum, 'Inspired by Soane. I found this and thought of you', London, UK
SHOWstudio, 'SHOWcabinet', cur. by Anj Smith, London, UK
Newlyn Art Gallery, '3am. wonder, paranoia and the restless night', Cornwall, UK (Travelling Exhibition)
Ferens Art Gallery, '3am. wonder, paranoia and the restless night', Hull, UK (Travelling Exhibition)
The Bluecoat, '3am. wonder, paranoia and the restless night', Liverpool, UK (Travelling Exhibition)
Chapter, '3am. wonder, paranoia and the restless night', Cardiff, UK (Travelling Exhibition)
Anthony Reynolds Gallery, 'The Curator's Egg Altera Pars', London, UK
Attingham Park, 'House of Beasts', Shrewsbury, UK
Villa Jauss, 'Überall und nigends. Werke aus der Sammlung Reydan Weiss', Oberstdorf, Germany
La Maison Rouge, 'Memories of the Future, the Olbricht Collection', Paris, France
SHOWstudio, 'In Your Face', London, UK
Marianne Boesky Gallery, 'Night Scented Stock', New York NY
Villa Tokyo, 'Night Scented Stock', Tokyo, Japan
Meadow Arts, 'House of Beasts', Attingham Park, Shrewsbury, UK
Alison Jacques Gallery, 'Among Flesh', London, UK
IBID PROJECTS, 'Group Show', London, UK
Villa Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
me Collector's Room, 'The Wunderkammer', Berlin, Germany
Kunsthalle Krems, 'Lebenslust und Totentanz', Krems, Austria
'Remap2,' Athens, Greece
Marianne Boesky Gallery, 'Your Gold Teeth II', New York NY

IBID PROJECTS (Hoxton Sq), 'Group Show', London, UK
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
Project Space 176, 'An Archeology', London, UK
HVCCA Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, 'Size Matters. XS Recent Small-Scale Paintings', Peekskill NY
Hauser & Wirth / Colnaghi, 'Old School', London, UK (Travelling Exhibition)
Palais Enzenberg, 'The Teardrop Explodes', Schwaz, Austria
Thomas Dane Gallery, 'Very Abstract and Hyper Figurative', London, UK
Allston Skirt Gallery, 'Love in a Cold Climate', Boston MA
Zabludowicz Collection, 'An Archaeology', London, UK
Grieder Contemporary, 'Kaminzimmer', Kuesnacht, Switzerland
Witte de With, 'Don Quijote', Rotterdam, Netherlands
Robert Miller Gallery, 'Opterracuna', New York NY
HVCCA Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, 'Only the Paranoid Survive', Peekskill NY
Galleria Zero,'Jaybird', Milan, Italy
Hauser & Wirth, 'London In Zurich', Zurich, Switzerland
Sartorial Contemporary Art, 'Dolore', London, UK
Vamiali Gallery, 'Sunset in Athens', Athens, Greece
Cooper Gallery, 'Life Of a Commercial Gallery. IBID PROJECTS', Dundee, UK
FA Projects, 'EXS An Invitational Exhibition', London, UK
Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art, 'The Analysis of Beauty', Sunderland, UK
Danielle Arnaud Contemporary Art, 'Transmogrifications', London, UK
OLS & Co., 'Nth Exhibit 001', London, UK
IBID PROJECTS, 'Someplace Unreachable', London, UK
Tate Britain, 'The Golden Resistance', London, UK
Nerd, Electricity Showrooms, 'Thriller', London, UK
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Awards and Grants

BUAG, Residency and Solo Exhibition, Bangkok, Thailand
Arts and Humanities Research Board Award, UK
The Pocock School Exchange competition to New York NY
The Slade School of Fine Art Exchange competition to New York NY
Wykeham Painting Prize, Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, London, UK
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Smith, Anj, Norton, Yates, 'Anj Smith. Where the Mountain Hare has Lain', London: The Perimeter, 2022, ill. (exh. cat.)
Joustra, Joost, Whitley, Zoé, Robinson, Deborah, 'Anj Smith. A Willow Grows Aslant the Brook', Walsall: New Art Gallery, 2021, ill. (exh. cat.)
Soikkonen, Sarianne (ed.), ‘Anj Smith. Sea Lily, Feather Star’, Tampere: Sara Hildén Art Museum, 2018, ill. (exh. cat.)
Mac Giolla Léith, Caoimhín, Gingeras, Alison, 'Anj Smith. Paintings', London: MACK, 2013
Adeli, Jamila, 'Anj Smith. Woods Without Pathways', Mumbai: Prodon, 2012, ill. (exh. cat.)
Schwabsky, Barry, Schafhausen, Nicolaus, 'Anj Smith. Paintings', New York: Foundation 20 21; Nyehaus, 2007, ill.
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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
Paparoni, Demetrio (ed.), 'Le nuove frontiere della pittura', Milan/IT: Skira, 2017 (exh. cat.)
Graef, Nicola, Olbricht, Claudia (et at), 'Queensize – Female Artists from the Olbricht Collection', Berlin: argobooks, 2015 (exh. cat.)
Beers, Kurt, '100 Painters of Tomorrow', London: Thames & Hudson, 2014
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
Price, Matt (ed.), 'Vitamin P2: New Perspectives in Painting', London: Phaidon, 2011
Hauser & Wirth (ed.), 'London in Zurich', Dallenwil: Druckerei Odermatt, 2005
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Klingelfuss, Jessica, ‘Keeping up with the Smiths: a London gallery united artists with the same surname’, on:, London, 19 July 2019
__, ‘fornasetti unfolds a universe of creations and cultural projects for milan design week’, on:, Milan, 20 April 2019
__, ‘Cosa fare alla Design Week’, on: Milan, 8 April 2019
Canci, Cristina, ‘Anj Smith al Museo Poldi Pezzoli con: the Mountain of the Muse’, in: For, Milan, 5 April 2019
__, ‘The new Fornasetti rug collection’, in: Tutto Milano, Milan, 4 April 2019
__, ‘Fornasetti alla Milan Design Week con nuove creazioni’, on:, Rome, 3 April 2019
__, ‘Smith Allo Specchio Del Poldi Pezzoli’, in: Arte, Milan, 3 April 2019
__, ‘Mostra Anj Smith. The Mountain of the Muse. Il contemporaneo al Poldi Pezzoli - Milano’, on:, Milan, 23 March 2019
__, ‘Il contemporaneo al Poldi Pezzoli: le opere di Anj Smith in mostra’, in: Finestre sull’ Arte, Milan, 20 March 2019
__, ‘10 Art Exhibits to Scope out in March’, on: New York, 1 March 2019
Naef, Maja, 'Anj Smith, Hauser & Wirth Zurich' in: Artforum, New York, 18 July 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
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
Gerlis, Melanie, 'Adventurous art collection of Jerome and Ellen Stern comes to Sotheby’s', on:, London, UK, 20 September 2017
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
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
___, '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, 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, January 2013, ill.
___,'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
___,'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
___, '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
Jury, Louise, 'Anj Smith' in: London Evening Standard, London, August 2009
Love, Emma, 'In Print' in: Vogue, New York NY, September 2009
Ward, Ossian, Sumpter, Helen, 'London's 40 Best Artists', in: Time Out, London, 21 October 2008
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
___,'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
___,'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
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
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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Museum Exhibitions

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Anj Smith
Where the Mountain Hare has Lain
15 Sep - 17 Dec 2022 , The Perimeter, London, United Kingdom
Anj Smith
A Willow Grows Aslant the Brook
29 Jan - 6 Jun 2021 , The New Art Gallery Walsall, Walsall, United Kingdom

Book Lab

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22 Sep—21 Nov 2015

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