Photo Basel 2019: Duo Presentation Cortis & Sonderegger / Anja Niemi

13 - 16 June 2019 

The Ravestijn Gallery returned to Basel for the fifth edition of Photo Basel showing Norwegian artist Anja Niemi and the Swiss artistduo Cortis & Sonderegger at stand #19.


Anja Niemi (b. 1976, Norway) always works alone; placing herself within her own meticulous tableaux, she constructs fictional stories where she is both the author and the character. In Darlene & Me (2014), Niemi plays the parts of two identical women living against the backdrop of a sparse, bleached house in the desert. The dualism in each performative photograph speaks clearly of the internal, and often opposing, voices we are all so attune with. In this way, as with all of her work, Niemi appeals to ideas that are innate to the human condition, rather than being confined to a personal mediation. And whilst her poetic narratives are wholly imagined (although frequently inspired by film and literature), they act as an intimate space to catalyse real conversations about identity, conformity and the relationship we have with ourselves. We will be showing works from the series 'She Could Have Been a Cowboy'.


Anja Niemi studied at the London College of Printing and Parsons School of Design in Paris and New York and has exhibited in galleries worldwide. Three previous monographs of her work have been published, Photographing in Costume (Little Black Gallery, 2015), Short Stories (Jane & Jeremy, 2016), The Woman Who Never Existed (Jane & Jeremy, 2017). The poem by Lena Niemi is an excerpt from a longer text in the new monograph accompanying the exhibition titled She Could Have Been A Cowboy (Jane & Jeremy, 2018). Her work has been published in Firecrackers: Female Photographers Now (Thames & Hudson, 2017), and her image The Garden Hose was selected for the volume 1001 Photographs You Must See Before You Die (Cassell, 2017).


Since 2012, artist duo Jojakim Cortis (b.1978, Switzerland) and Adrian Sonderegger (b.1980, Switzerland), otherwise known by their shared name Cortis & Sonderegger, have been constructing exhaustive dioramas (a three-dimensional theatrical model) by hand of iconic photographs that balance between truth and fabrication. Photographs such as Robert Capa’s Falling Solider, Ansel Adams’ Moon and Half Dome, Joe Rosenthal’s Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima and Stuart Franklin’s Tiananmen Square are all etched into our collective memory and consequently have all been recreated by Cortis & Sonderegger. After each scrupulous scene is made, the pair photograph their creation including the materials, tools, structures and lighting that have conceived their trickery in the frame. By exposing their activities, the duo allow us to examine where the boundaries lie of perceived reality, how fiction can work in tandem with truth and what authenticity is in the photographic medium.


Jojakim Cortis (b. 1978) & Adrian Sonderegger (b. 1980) began their artistic collaboration during their studies of photography at Zurich University of the Arts (ZHDK) in 2005. Together they conceive and manufacture surreal worlds through their use of “staged” photography employing analogue techniques by hand. The artists live and work in Zurich, Switzerland.

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