Monika K. Adler, Film Director, Portrait

Monika K. Adler is an acclaimed photographer and avant-garde filmmaker based in London, The United Kingdom, known for her challenging and provocative photography and experimental films. She first gained attention with the transgressive art-film Chernobyl of Love (2012), filmed in Ukraine, near the ruins of the 1986 nuclear accident.

In 2018 she was nominated to a Hundred Heroines – The Royal Photographic Society’s Award. She graduated from The European Academy of Photography in Warsaw, Poland, and Wojciech Gerson’s National School of Fine Arts, Warsaw.


Her works have been shown in 180 exhibitions, photography, video art and film festivals internationally. These have included: Gwangju Biennale, South Korea, Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool, UK, House of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, Lagos Photo Festival 20: Home Museum, Photo London, Somerset House, London, UK, Rankin 2020 #Self – Sky Arts, UK | ITA, Saint Germain Photo Festival, Paris, France, Stirling Photography Festival, Scotland UK, Auckland Photography Festival 22 and 23, New Zealand, Torrance Art Museum, Los Angeles, Gislaveds Konsthall, Sweden, Haegeumgang Theme Museum, Geoje, South Korea, Cannes FF, The State Museum of Gulag, Moscow, Visual AIDS, Ortuzar Projects, New York, USA, West Den Haag, The Hague, Netherlands, CICA Museum, Czong Institute of Contemporary Art, South Korea, Museum of Image and Sound, Florianopolis, Brazil; Edinburgh International Festival, BBC 100 Women, London, The National Art Gallery Wozownia, Torun, Poland, Façade Video Art Festival, Plovdiv Bulgaria, National Press Gallery Seoul, Korea; Ilmin Museum, Seoul, Korea, Museum of New Art, Detroit, London Arts Festival, Films On Art, Portugal, EAI, San Diego, Zeta Art Center & Gallery, Tirana, Albania, Sobering Gallery, Paris, National Institute of Fine Arts, Tetouan, Morocco, Sala Rekalde, Bilbao, Spain. Galerie La Tour, Paris and the Second International Festival of Photography, Lodz, Poland.


She is best known her avant-garde films such as Patriarchal Sabbath, 2023, Nostalgia, 2022, The Beauty of the Shadow, 2011, Chernobyl of Love, 2012, Purification, 2012, Misery of my soul, 2012, Wolfe von Lenkiewicz – Portrait of the artist, 2012, Come back to the trees, 2013, Mutability, 2013, On being an Angel, 2014, Involuntary Memory, 2014, Simone de Beauvoir told me, 2016, In the name of the Father, 2020 as-well as the photography collections: Patriarchal Sabbath, 2023; Nostalgia, 2022-2023, The Truth, 2020-2021, Maldives of Consciousness 2019-2021, Nokturn, 2002, Sacred Flesh, 2003, Towards Abyssinia, 2016-2018, Yggdrasil, 2015-2018, Mademoiselle Guillotine, 2004, Travel no End 2005-2018, Chernobyl of love, 2011, Nostalgia 2022, Anxiety & Neurosis, 2012-2018, Existence, 2013-2018, Coyote, 2013-2018 and Beyond Time, 2014-2019, Derange in London, 2011, Champagne, AIDS and Strawberries, 2010.


Monika K. Adler’s films and image-based works have been the subject of several academic studies and published in many magazines and publications including: The Eye of Photography, GUP Magazine, Vogue Italia, Art & Commerce + Vogue Italia, The Pictorial List Magazine, MONOVISIONS, FK – Magazine for Latvian and International Photography, Photographer Russia, Beta development in photography, Soanyway Magazine, Dodho Magazine, Tagree Magazine, TimeSilence Photography, Private Photo Review, Spectaculum Magazine, The Edge of Humanity Magazine,  Harper Baazar UK, Guardian, The Times, Leica Photography Internationale, The Ambivalent Body: On The Short Films Of Monika K. Adler, 2013, The Martyrdom of the Angel’s Body: The Female Artist as Naked Signifier, 2014, 209 Women – Photography Book, 2019, Rankin’s 2020 – Photography Book 2020, Review Of Monika K. Adler’s Photographic Work: A Psychological Perspective, 2013, Stirling Photography Festival: Stories 2022: Photo Book, 2022


House of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, London, UK

Haegeumgang Theme Museum, Geoje, South Korea

Home Museum, Lagos Photo 2020, Lagos Nigeria

COVID-19 ARCHIVE, Public Source, United Kingdom

COVID PICTURES Collection, Portland, United States

Museu Quinta da Cruz, Centro de Arte Contemporânea, Viseu, Portugal

>Museum Ovartaci, Aarhus, Denmark (after exhibition Body Ideals: print Transformation)

Simultan Festival Archive ( Come back to the trees, 2013)

The New Museum of Networked Art: WOW Jubilee, 2020

Lusted Men / Une collection d’images érotiques d’hommes: 1, 2 Collection: Brussels, Belgium

Lusted Men / Une collection d’images érotiques d’hommes: 5, FRANCE



Auckland Photography Festival, Auckland, New Zealand (ONLINE) – EXHIBITION ‘PATRIARCHAL SABBATH’ 2023

Auckland Photography Festival, Auckland, New Zealand (ONLINE) – EXHIBITION ‘NOSTALGIA’ 2022

2020 – Rankin 2020 – The Best Pictures of the Year – Sky News –  PROGRAM #SELF + photography book

Photo Saint-Germain Festival 21, Paris, France: ‘Lusted Men’ EXHIBITION

L’image satellite – Festival Photographie Contemporaine, Nice France: ‘Lusted Men’ EXHIBITION

Format International Photography Festival, UK – Mass Isolation project – ONLINE EXHIBITION

Lagos Photo Festival 20: Home Museum – EXHIBITION

209 Women, UK Parliament, London – 2019 (Selected/Exhibited/Photography Book)

100 Heroines – Royal Photography Society, London, UK – 2018  (Nomination)

Strangloscope Experimental Audio, Film/Video & Performance Festival, Museum of Image and Sound, Florianopolis, Brasil – 2016 – NOMINATION

Christie’s First Open – Christie’s Auction House, London, UK – 2015  (Short – Listed)

Facade Video Festival 2014, Plodiv, Bulgaria – 2014 – (Nomination)

International Video Art Festival «Now&After» ‘14 at the State Museum of GULAG in Moscow, Russia – 2014 – (Nomination)

Golden Hare – Film Awards on Films on Art – Portugal – 2014 (Nomination)

The Nihilist International Film Festival 2013 – Santa Monica, California, USA (Nomination)

SIMULTAN FESTIVAL 2013 – ‘Popular Unknown’ – Timisoara, Romania (Nomination)

II International Festival of Photography 2003 – Lodz, Poland – EXHIBITION


2024 – Postcards from the Edge, Visual AIDS, New York City, USA (Annual Art Benefit)

2023 – Postcards from the Edge, Visual AIDS, New York City, USA (Annual Art Benefit)

2022 – Postcards from the Edge, Visual AIDS, New York City, USA (Annual Art Benefit)

2013-2016 – Feminism in London, London, United Kingdom

2013 – One Billion Rising: Art Against Violence, London, UK (Bodies of silence #3: When Words Are Made Flesh – curated Giulia Casalini at Cuntemporary – Platform, Netil House, London, UK)


Monovisions Awards 2023 (Black and white photography competition)


“Historical violence haunts the short films of Monika K. Adler. The bodies of her female protagonists are carriers of traumatic memory. Even apparently consensual encounters carry this residue of past horrors. The contagion of mass violence, invading waves of fanatics inspired by the pure rage of true belief to shattering acts of violation and subjugation inform every frame of Adler’s films. Yet her short films are intimate and minimal, the majority of them limited to two figures, one male, one female; domestic melodramas of desire, estrangement, sorrow and rage. The males however continue to carry with them the threat or at least the echo of the past’s marauding ravagers or act as inheritors and enforcers of oppressive and brutal orthodoxies: The women appear perpetually trapped in scenarios of betrayal, disappointment, subjugation and reduction, frequently if unknowingly complicit in their own bad outcomes.”

: Robert Smart, The Ambivalent Body: On The Short Films Of Monika K. Adler, London, 2013.

“Cutting across boundaries between consciousness and unconsciousness, or of time, race or culture, Monika K. Adler’s work exhibits and offers engagement: embracing anxieties, neurosis or delusions, which themselves can be full of all hidden secrets and/or memories (as in trauma related experiences and memories) of actual history (e.g. in terms of bodily and emotional abuse) in terms of our current state of being, ‘the now’. So eventually, with the power of the strength gained from coming through distress and suffering, liberation of the self as individual can be possible.”

: Drs Kevin Zdaniecki, Review Of Monika K. Adler’s Photographic Work: A Psychological Perspective, London, 2013.