Anj Smith
If Not, Winter

March 16 - May 19, 2018


Hauser & Wirth Zürich is proud to present an exhibition of new paintings and etchings by Anj Smith, which marks the artist’s first solo presentation in Switzerland. Eroticism, mortality and fragility are explored alongside investigations into the psychological territory of anxiety. With exquisite detail co-existing alongside jewelled colour banks and thick impasto, Smith continues her interrogation and celebration of the medium of painting.

View more

Installation views


In Conversation: Anj Smith and Jo Applin, with readings by Sara Masters

On the occasion of  ‘Anj Smith. If Not, Winter’, please join us for a conversation between the artist and Jo Applin, specialist in Modern and Contemporary art and Professor at The Courtauld Institute of Art in London. The discussion will explore the themes in Anj Smith’s exhibition, underpinned by readings by actor Sara Masters of the Seamus Heaney translation of middle english poem ‘The Names of the Hare’, and a selection of fragments from Sappho’s poetry. 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. Jo Applin teaches modern and contemporary art at The Courtauld Institute of Art in London, and is Reviews Editor of Oxford Art Journal. Jo writes regularly for Artforum and other publications. Her most recent book is Lee Lozano: Not Working (Yale University Press, 2018). Sara Masters trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and has performed in theatres across the UK including the Royal Court, National Theatre and the Lyric Hammersmith. She was Artistic Director of award winning theatre company Fervour and new writing company, Iceandfire, where she created the national playwriting competition, Protect the Human, with Amnesty International UK. She has also written two plays for young people and recorded a number of audio books. This event is free and open to all. Photo: Alex Delfanne

About the artist

Anj Smith’s work negotiates the space between the genres of portraiture, landscape, and still-life. In her interrogation and celebration of the medium of painting, alluring flora and fauna—from vines, flowers, and ivy to ambiguous creatures and human figures—populate ecologically devastated landscapes. Refusing fast consumption, her work explores issues of gender, ecology, anxiety, and eroticism. 

Current Exhibitions