Biography

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.

She graduated from The European Academy of Photography in Warsaw, Poland and the Wojciech Gerson’s NationalSchool of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Poland.

Adler is a finalist of the British Auction House & Art Stack: Christie’s First Open, 2015.

In 2018 she was nominated to a Hundred HeroinesThe Royal Photographic Society’s Award.

Monika K. Adler is a women’s rights activist, and has three times participated in the Feminism in London Conference (2013, 2015, 2016).

As one of two-hundred of the best female photographers in UK, the project 209 Women selected Adler to photograph one of the female members of UK parliament. The exhibition showed at the Palace of Westminster, London and Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool, 2018 – 19.

Her photography work is held in the Houses of Parliament’s permanent collection.

Monika K. Adler works have been shown in over 200 exhibitions, photography, video art and film festivals internationally. These have included: 

ART BIENNALE

Gwangju Biennale 2012 , South Korea (Kim Kim Gallery ‘Douglasism’); The Wrong Biennale 2023-2024, Black Hole, Digital Pavillon Centre of Contemporary Art in Toruń, Poland; The Wrong Biennale 24: The Wrong TV, Alicante, Spain; Biennale NO, 2022, Sweden  

PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVALS

Auckland Festival of Photography 2022, 2023, 2024; Lagos Photo 2020 (Home Museum) Photo Saint Germain Festival, 2020, Paris (Lusted Men) Barcelona Exp. Photography Festival 2023, 2024 (Share, Tag and Dye) Photo London, 2019, Somerset House (Gavin Turk installation); L’image satellite Contemporary Photography Festival, Nice France (Lusted Men) Stirling Photography Festival, 2022, 2023, Format International Photography Festival 2021; (Mass Isolation – online); + QUAD, Centre for Contemporary Art and Film, Derby, UK (People’s Picture Giant Photo Mosaic) II International Festival of Photography, 2003 Lodz, Poland. (EAF) Photo Trends Festival, 2 Mai 2023, 2024 (Share, Tag and Dye) Cleveland Photo Festival 2022 (One Million Photos)

TV PROGRAMES/RADIO

Rankin 2020 #Self – Sky Arts, UK 

Rankin 2020 #Self – Sky Arte, ITALY

Madonna ”Live Art Curation”: 14 April 2014, 7pm EST on BuzzFeed! The photograph Mademoiselle Guillotine in a global digital initiative Art For Freedom.

VIDEO ART, EXPERIMENTAL AND FILM FESTIVALS

FILM AWARD for FILMS ON ART – PORTUGAL 2014, Festival Temps D’Images; 5° Festival Internacional de Videoarte SPMAV 2024, Pelotas, Brasil; Edinburgh International Festival 2012, 2013, 2014; Shortcutz Amsterdam, 2013; Façade Video Art Festival, Bulgaria, 2013; Athens Digital Arts Festival 2024; The Nihilist International Film Festival 2013, Los Angeles; International Video Art Festival «Now&After» ’14, State Museum of GULAG, Moscow; Strangloscope Experimental Audio, Film/Video & Performance Festival, 2016; MIVA Festival, Ecuador2020; TIMELINE:BH #7 – Belo Horizonte International Video Art Festival 2022; The New Museum of Networked Art & MIVA Expanded Narratives Exp. Video Art Festival, Cinemateca Nacional Quito, Ecuador; Fonlad 2022 – International Video Art and Performance Festival; Magmart, International Video Art Festival – Italy; CologneOFF – 10th Cologne International Videoart Festival, Germany

MUSEUMS

Torrance Art Museum, Los Angeles (Vacations in the Subconscious); Haegeumgang Theme Museum, 2022, Geoje Art Festival, South Korea; Museu dos Terceiros, Art in Lima, Portugal; CICA Museum, Czong Institute of Contemporary Art, South Korea Portrait 2018) ; Museum Ovartaci, Aarhus, Denmark (Body Ideals: Oppression and Liberation); Ilmin Museum, Seoul, Korea (Douglasism Festival) National Justice Museum, Nottingham, UK (‘Freedom’ – Photography Exhibition) Museum of New Art, Detroit; Museu Quinta da Cruz, Centro de Arte Contemporânea, Viseu, Portugal; Museo Mausoleo de Arte de Morille, Salamanca, Spain; The New Museum of Networked Art; Cologne, Germany, 2023-24

GALLERIES

Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool (209 Women); West Den Haag, The Hague, Netherlands (Douglas Park and Invited Guests: Post-Terminal & Ex-Ultimate) The National Art Gallery Wozownia, Toruń, Poland (Beyond Reality: EAF); National Press Gallery, Seoul, Korea (Douglasism Festival); Family FOTO, Serpentine Galleries, London, United Kingdom – Online (Family FOTO is an international family album inspired by James Barnor’s Serpentine exhibition James Barnor: Accra/London – A Retrospective; Ortuzar Projects, New York (Visual AIDS); The Glasgow Gallery of Photography; The Greenwich Gallery, Linear House, London, UK; Gallery Art Factory Flox, Germany; Berry Campbell Gallery, New York (Visual AIDS); Gislaveds Konsthall, Sweden; Sala Rekalde and Kalo Panafrican Creations, Bilbao, Spain (Time is Love8); Sobering Gallery, Paris (Time is Love8); La Tour Gallery Paris (Solo Show); Expressive Arts Institute, San Diego (Time is Love8); Zeta Art Center & Gallery, Tirana, Albania (Time is Love8)

IMPORTANT INSTITUTIONS

House of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (209 WOMEN); BBC 100 WOMEN, BBC Broadcasting House, London UK (with Feminism in London); The University of Cambridge; (Postcards from Europe’, Shutter Hub); Grande Galeria  da Escola de Belas Artes of the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil (Re-Volver);  Selcuk University Faculty of Fine Arts (POMO III); British Council, Sao Paulo, Brasil (100 Women, FiLiArt100); Le Théâtre National Tunisien (Tunis International Feminist Art Festival Choftouhonna); The Institute of Education, London (Feminism in London); One Billion Rising: London Arts Festival: Art Against Violence, London, UK; National Institute of Fine Arts, Tetouan, Morocco (Time is Love8);

FAIRS

Tryst 2023 -The New Museum for Networked Art; Torrance Art Museum Los Angeles, USA

SYMPOSIUMS

‘Opposite Flow’ – International Short Film, Video and Photography Symposium 2023, Kadıköy Barış Manço Cultural Center, Istanbul, Turkey

WORKS

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: Sick Bacchus: The Fictional, 2024, The Pilgrimage, 2024, 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.

PUBLICATIONS

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 developments 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 | 2023: Photo Book, 2022 | 2023; Lusted Men – Photography Book – Gallimard’s Editions Hoëbeke (Paris, France)

COLLECTIONS

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

Private Collections: NEW YORK CITY,  SAN FRANCISCO, LONDON, TOKYO, PARIS, etc.

AWARDS

2024 – FIVA SPAV – 5° Festival Internacional de Videoarte SPMAV, Pelotas, Brasil 2024 ( Nomination)

2024; 2023, 2022 – Auckland Photography Festival, Auckland, New Zealand – Exhibitions

2020 – Rankin 2020 – The Best Pictures of the Year – Sky News – Finalist | 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, Brazil – 2016 – NOMINATION

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

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

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

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

CHARITY

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)

JUDGE

8th Monovisions Awards 2024 (Black and white photography competition)

7th Monovisions Awards 2023 (Black and white photography competition)

REFERENCES

“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.