PhotoLexicon, Volume 16, nr. 32 (November 1999) (en)

Ania Bien

Ingeborg Th. Leijerzapf


As an artist, Ania Bien is interested in visualising questions concerning fundamental values in (Western) society. She usually presents her work in the form of installations, series, or sequences. Bien’s work consists of an abstract concept, a decoded story, a statement or a metaphor, for which photography is the support, sometimes in combination with other media. The issues addressed in her work form the reflection of a personal development. At the same time, they are general enough to inspire recognition in others.




Ania Bien is born on 5 October in Krakow, Poland, as the first of two children of Josef Bien and Karola Griebel. Prior to the war, her father is a successful entrepreneur: his company in building materials (asphalt and tar) is lost as a result of the German occupation. Following the war, her parents attempt to rebuild their lives by establishing a company for office supplies. Just as it begins to serve as a stable source of income, the communist regime declares the business to be under state ownership.


To provide their children with a safe future, the Bien family migrates to New York. As such, they avoid the historical-based and deeply rooted anti-Semitism in Poland, which, under the communist regime, faces no strong opponents.


Bien studies art at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. She decides on the following study disciplines: graphic design, interior architecture, and photography. At Columbia University in New York, Bien studies anthropology, painting and drawing. She receives lessons from painters such as Leon Golden and David Lund.


To further improve her skills in painting and drawing, she participates in summer workshops at the Provincetown Workshop in Provincetown, Massachusetts, a city known for its art scene. Bien receives drawing and painting lessons from Victor Candell and Leo Manso. In the intervening months, she follows the classes of both artists at New York University.


Bien’s relationship with a Dutchman, Kees Hodde, brings her to Amsterdam (she retains her American nationality). Hodde is a medical academic researcher at the Academic Medical Center. The couple weds in 1974. In order to establish contacts with the Dutch art world, Bien applies for a position with the study programme Ateliers ’63’ in Haarlem. Bien is accepted based on her painting and drawing oeuvre. At Ateliers ’63, she devotes her attention initially to painting and drawing. In addition, she spends one day a week at the library of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam she conducts her own independent study of contemporary art via academic literature.

In about 1974/75, Bien relinquishes painting and chooses black-and-white photography as her medium.


Bien spends two months in Rome for study and work.


Bien holds her first solo exhibition. This takes place at the Castelli Graphics Gallery in New York. In this year, she also participates in various group exhibitions for the first time in the United States, Netherlands, and Italy.

Bien’s father dies in New York.


Bien’s first important exhibition in the Netherlands takes place at the Article Gallery (later called the Van Krimpen Gallery) in Amsterdam. She exhibits a combination of photos and drawings.


Bien visits Berlin for the first time. She stays with a fellow colleague, Nan Hoover, and photographs the city.


Bien’s daughter, Eden, is born.


Bien gives lessons as a guest instructor in the post-academic training programme at the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht. During these classes, Bien and her students print enlargements for her project ‘Hotel Poland’.


For one year, Bien is a guest instructor at the AKI (Academie voor kunst en industrie, ‘Academy of Art and Industry’) in Arnhem.


Bien teaches as a guest instructor at the RABK (Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, ‘National Academy of Fine Arts’) in Amsterdam.


Bien visits Poland for the first time since she migrated to the United States in 1958.


After her major project HOME, Ania Bien withdraws from the art world in order to focus on her own independent study. She delves into topics such as contemporary (including electronic) music, philosophy, Jewish mysticism, as well as other comparative religious sciences. She also researches other new forms, including digital art, in order to make her new ideas concrete.


“My work grows out of questions I ask about existence, my existence.”

Ania Bien, April 1977 (Press Release, Castelli Uptown Gallery, New York)

Ania Bien’s artistry transcends the traditional boundaries of the medium photography. Bien typically makes series, sequences, or installations, because she needs these in order to depict the processes she observes. She also works with multiple images because a single image seldom fails to satisfy her desire. Bien communicates with her audience by requesting the observer’s conscious participation. Her work is not always easily and quickly understood. The observer has to be willing to be open-minded and commiserate in order to decipher Bien’s projects and to comprehend the meaning of her work. At the same time, there exists room for personal interpretation. Because of this ‘task’ that Bien assigns the viewer and which serves as the completion of the artwork­—the artwork being a bridge in the communication with ‘the other’, as Levinas has expressed it—Bien has been criticised in a review by Tim Hilton in response to the exhibition Outer Space at the Camden Arts Centre in London (1992). ‘I call this [Hotel Poland] a successful work of art, within its own terms. The problem is that its successes are relatively easily won. So it is with many photographic installations. They often seem to withhold some creative effort, as though asking the spectator to do the artist’s work.’ Hilton was apparently unaware of the necessity for participation that requires an effort in the experience of art—in this case, an installation. The function of art, in Ania Bien’s viewpoint, is to allow the observer to become aware of the mystery that underlies everyday reality, i.e. that we are to be continually amazed by existence. In her view, art is not to be seen as a decoration or entertainment, but as a spiritual, intellectual stimulus, which enables humanity to move to another level of consciousness, to an area of spiritual freedom. It is here that a renewed contact can occur with original feelings and moral values, which the consumptive, technological world insidiously threatens to take away from him.

Bien’s education was highly diverse. In addition to art—with graphic design, drawing, painting, and photography as her chief areas of interest—she also studied interior design and cultural anthropology. From time to time, these specialisations each come to play a role in her work. The most intense moments Bien experienced during her study, as she relates herself, were her drawing classes with Victor Candell and Leo Manso in the artists’ community of Provincetown, Massachusetts, and with David Lund at Columbia University in New York. Provincetown’s unorthodox atmosphere attracted large numbers of young people, including artists, actors, and dancers. It was an environment in which little value was placed on traditional American taboos, such as interracial relationships or homosexuality. For this reason, the city drew people from all walks of life. Candell was an instructor who taught his students to observe connections that are ever-present. Yet he especially stimulated them with philosophical reflections concerning the essence of being an artist, encouraging them to seek their own identity in this respect, but also as a person. With Bien, Candell taught her that art stems from life (and not, for instance, from art produced by others). In his view, each artist must always return to his own source. He is required to account for his own standing in life and to work from his own specific physical, intellectual, spiritual, and emotional baggage in order to develop a vision that is personal.

After moving to Amsterdam, Bien went in search of opportunities to further her artistic development and to establish contacts in the Dutch art world. She applied for a position with the post-academic study programme Ateliers ’63 in Haarlem (currently in Amsterdam) and was subsequently assigned a studio. Ateliers ’63 was set up to give young artists the chance to rent a studio in the organisation’s building and to gain experience through meeting with experienced artists, who visit the studios on a regular basis to evaluate their work. Bien initially found working at Ateliers ’63 to be beneficial and was supported by the photographer Edgar Fernhout. After Fernhout’s death in the fall of 1974, however, Bien felt that most of the teachers affiliated with the institute provided an insufficient amount of inspiration and personal involvement. In addition, facilities such as a darkroom were still lacking at this time. For Bien, this uninspiring environment was a major disappointment in comparison with what she had been accustomed to in New York, where she was once part of the school of Abstract Expressionism. There was also the problem of getting used to an unfamiliar, relatively closed society. These factors, combined with an often depressing climate, were what led to Bien’s inability to express herself as she had done back in New York. With her perspective of the world becoming more and more black-and-white, photography proved to be the medium best suited to the situation in which she found herself. During this period of transition, Bien focused on a lesson that she had been given by her previous teacher Candell: go in search of your own personal definition of point, line, and surface. In acting upon this advice, Bien began to devise photographic studies of form that she encountered in her own surroundings: dialogues between black and white, vertical and horizontal, stability and change. These form studies—’finger exercises’ as she calls them—were made with ordinary, everyday objects and patterns, such as a bunch of tulips, the corners of a room, or a typical Dutch dike. These items helped Bien to come to a better understanding of Dutch culture, to find a place for herself within it, and to develop her own visual idiom. Bien’s background—encompassing three different cultures and three different languages—allowed her to experience reality’s diversity, and from there, to seek out what the essence was for her—a quest in search of the mystical instant ‘(…) when [the] image before my eyes and the insight merge, a moment of personal truth (…)’.

Bien feels more like an artist than she does a photographer. Technique, in itself, plays no prominent role in her work. The photo as an object is not the most important end result, but rather the transmission of an idea. Yet Bien is extremely fascinated by the varied and powerful means that photography has to offer, e.g. the ability to capture a moment in time and to apply it in the context of another time and space: ‘(…) plasticity of time, not the medium (…)’.

Bien usually exhibits her photographic works within a given context, in order to suggest a specific meaning. In a number of works, she expresses herself in the form of a triptych. A combination of contrasting images allows one to design a stream of thought: the unravelling of a visual message, concealed in a few interconnected photos. At the same time, the triptych format forces the artist to limit herself to a compact delineation. This builds tension. In doing so, Bien wishes to realise an idea through a minimum of means. She has not desire to manipulate reality, but instead intends to use it for what she hopes to make manifest: the mystique of life. ‘Behind the coulisses of the image is where things are really going on’, is her premise. What ultimately forms the artwork are the abstract ideas that interact with the photos and give substance to the space in between. The spatial effect as well determines the extent to which the observer sympathises with the work of art: he must not be distracted by surroundings that are irrelevant.

For Bien, photography is an effective tool for exposing reality. It also functions well as a medium for the symbolism her visual idiom requires. She refuses to be limited by boundaries of a technical nature, but likewise has no desire to substitute reality through technique or partake in photographic experimentation typically accomplished by such means. Bien often chooses to mix techniques—combinations of photography with language, painting and drawing—and to integrate objects and photos in order to work spatially. One example of this mixed technique is Transit, which consists of a photo of two people walking down a road—shot from above—and two drawings, which suggestively echo the light of the road and the darkness of the grass. The three components of the artwork—all made of paper—are organised in a way that they appear to flow into each other. Transit poses the inevitable question of: where do we come from and where we are headed? In the artworks Remembrance I and Remembrance II, Bien combines photos with objects taken from reality, which also play a role. Remembrance I consists of two life-size photos of the artist herself, who investigates the forms and colours of stones with fascination; Remembrance II consists of two life-size photos, in which Bien smells freshly cut grass. The photos are mounted on the wall at a low level and extend across the floor. The gravel and the hay scattered in front of the image allow the photographic space and the actual physical space in which the work is exhibited to merge, as it were. Bien’s artworks stimulate the senses and are reminiscent of the smells and objects that one learns to distinguish in his youth. Recollections of smells and tangible objects are materialised by the concrete presence of hay and stones. A photo is not just a representation, but also material. As an object, the photo has a tactile form of its own, which is different than the materials found in painting and drawing. The combination of materials with their sometimes contrasting surface structures is a way to break free of the photographic image’s content in order to give an artwork new content.

Format plays an essential role in Bien’s photos. She observed in herself, as a woman, an unconscious tendency to present her work in a modest manner. She initially printed her photos in very small formats (6×9 cm). Upon realising why she was doing this, however, Bien felt the need to break out of this pattern. By this time, she understood that the only decisive factor in determining the format of her images was their content. To focus attention on her ideas, Bien’s installations are today presented in colossal formats, when deemed necessary.

Bien exhibits her work both in the Netherlands and abroad on a regular basis. She participates in group exhibitions and installations and already has numerous solo projects to her name. For a number of installations, Bien adapts the spatial surroundings herself. This often obliges the observer to observe and think consciously. In order to follow Ania Bien’s train of thought and to reveal her photographic vocabulary, a number of the projects and installations she has realised up until this time will now be described and analysed in chronological order.

In the performance Transient Matter from 1980, past and present are placed in confrontation with a material object—the paper photo—and the symbolic discarding of past moments, achieved through the wadded up photos that have landed in and around a wastepaper basket. The underlying concept of this artwork is the irony of creating a material object that functions as a symbol for the passing of time and the transience of materials.

Mathematics of the Absurd is a sequence from 1981, which consists of three photos of burial crosses. The first cross bears the German text ‘Ein unbekannter Deutscher Soldat’ (‘An Unknown German Soldier’); the second cross, ‘Zwei unbekannte Deutsche Soldaten’ (‘Two Unknown German Soldiers’); and the third: ‘Drei unbekannte Deutsche Soldaten’ (‘Three Unknown German Soldiers’). At a cemetery in Northern France, Bien saw symbols in these burial crosses, which enabled her to express her view of this sinister, meaningless aspect of human behaviour.

The sequence Checkpoint Charlie dates from 1981 and consists of three photos with the dimensions 50×60 cm. This sequence alludes to the absurdity of the boundary between East and West Berlin.

The photo in the middle shows the white dividing line on the asphalt of the road at the border crossing. The same line as well marks the boundary between East and West Berlin on the asphalt. The photo on the triptych’s right shows the asphalt of East Berlin; the photo on the left, the asphalt of West Berlin. The absurdity of this division can hardly be represented in a simpler and more grotesque manner.

In 1985, Ysbrand Hummelen selected Bien to participate in an exhibition project coordinated by Frank Gribbling in Amsterdam based on the theme of City Thoughts. She did this with her first spatial installation, entitled Insomnia, in a space at Oudezijds Voorburgwal 131. In a compilation of photos and objects from different sources and periods and in various formats (varying from contact print to 120 x 180 cm)—such as newspaper photos, echoscopic and electroscan images as well as related objects—she suggested how the spirit might work or the direction a stream of thought might follow. The sound of a loudly ticking clock was also part of the installation, included as a warning of the passing of time, both in the installation itself as well as in the moment of observing it.

In 1987, Bien made the installation Hotel Polen (‘Hotel Poland’), inspired by a menu stand found in the Amsterdam hotel of the same name, which was destroyed by fire in 1977. The stand itself bears the inscription ‘Hotel Polen’ and was purchased years before in a store specialised in Jugendstil and Art Deco. This object served as the point of departure for an installation comprising eighteen photos with the dimensions of 2 meters high by 1.20 meters wide. The menu stand is photographed from the same position in every photo, in front of a black background. The first and last photos in the series show just the stand. In the remaining photos, however, an object or photo rests on the stand: a family portrait, a photo of a German Shepherd, a happy little girl laughing, a luggage tag. By arranging the photos in a relatively closed space designed for this very purpose­—resembling a hotel hallway—the symbols of the menu stand with object, which at first appear to be random, begin to reveal a suggestive correspondence. The luggage tag, a letter to K. Bien, and a fragment of a land map of Poland showing the area around Auschwitz, together form a clear message. The artwork’s ‘narrative’ refers not only to the artist, but also the history of Poland during World War II.

Past Perfect from 1988 is an homage to Franz Kafka, with whom Bien feels a personal bond. This work is a sequel to the installation The Maze from 1987, in which Bien first expressed her shared fate with this Eastern European artist. Past Perfect consists of clusters of black-and-white photos taken by Bien and reproductions of archive images from Kafka’s life in different formats. The photos obtain meaning through their shared context. The images are printed either sharply or blurred, thereby forcing the observer to step closer or move back in order to get a clearer view. The installation integrates photos from Kafka’s life in Prague with photos taken in Manhattan, the city where Bien once lived. She contemplated how it would have been had Kafka not died of tuberculosis in 1924, but had instead fled from Hitler’s terror during the 1930s to New York. In that case, he is certain to have wandered about the city as an old man, with memories suddenly appearing in flashes more vivid than the physical surroundings in which he found himself at that particular moment. The photos confront the past and present, creating an atmosphere of fear and loneliness based on the displacement of an individual imprisoned in memories of the places and relationships he was forced to leave behind. In the installation, two lives from two different periods come together, as it were, in a relationship that never actually existed, but in which recognition plays a major role.

The exhibition Amnesty 1991 was made on the occasion of Amnesty International’s thirtieth anniversary and is based on the organisation’s publication No More Excuses. The thirty portraits of political prisoners found in this book—symbols of Amnesty International’s activities during this thirty-year period—were reproduced by Bien in photos adorned with iron frames, which were added to suggest prison windows. Over the mouth of each person portrayed, a word has been printed that represents a symbolic dialogue between the prisoner and the viewer. On one hand, the words refer to the portrayed individual’s lack of freedom; on the other hand, they refer to our need to feel connected to these people.

The photography project HOME was conceived in December 1992 at Edinburgh, Scotland, during a meeting of European leaders. It was exhibited for the first time at the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam in September 1993. HOME is an ostensibly simple photographic triptych presented in an extremely large format (200 x 300 cm), which confronts the observer with the desolate locations in a city where homeless people spend their days and nights: the remnants of a cardboard box to sleep on, empty beer bottles, a newspaper, pieces of wastepaper, empty pizza boxes. Because the actual homeless person is absent from the image, we are afforded space to wonder who this person is, someone who lives so near us, exposed to such an indifferent world, but without our knowing him. The implications of the title ‘HOME’ are significant in a multitude of ways. It stands for memories of one’s childhood home, the basis of our existence, the values we received there, at the same time offering a sense of security, a safe home base, the status of our place in society, the walls behind which we retreat and which allow us to isolate ourselves from the angry outside world. This triptych, however, concerns the absence of a home, the symbolic reflection of the loss of values in our society, and ‘(…) the shortcomings of our social structures in taking responsibility for one other’, as Bien wrote in the 1993 publication that accompanied this project. ‘In the remnants left behind, I see a testimony of the spiritual decay around us, which only makes us more vulnerable to totalitarian powers dressed in new attire.’ During his opening speech on the occasion of Bien’s retrospective at the Jewish Historical Museum, Jacques Wallage—the then under-secretary of the Ministry of Sociale Zaken en Werkgelegenheid (‘Social Affairs and Employment’)—observed: ‘Where the falling away of the Cold War should have had a liberating effect, only now are the real tensions apparently coming to light. Nations are swerving off course; with open borders, large differences in levels of prosperity ensure that people are coming to take what we are not coming to bring. What has been presented to us as a means of enrichment, open borders, and the free transport of goods, turns out to have a dangerous undercurrent: the more open our borders, the more closed our spirit. (…) She [Ania Bien] shifts the discussion of the question: “Is the Netherlands full?”, “Is the rich West full?” to the question: how empty is the existence of those who fail to provide shelter?’

Anna Bien does not feel she has been specifically influenced by any one movement or artist. In terms of content, however, her work has been compared to that of Christian Boltanski, who likewise makes use of the melancholy effect brought about by diary-like, personal relics and archival images in his art. Clearly, Bien’s work is closely associated with the underlying cultural and historical issues affecting the surroundings in which she grew up, both in Poland and New York.

The conceptual thinking that lies at the foundation of Bien’s forms of expression is generally influenced by developments in art occurring in the 1960s and early 1970s. Contrary to most of the Dutch conceptual artists from this period, Bien was never busy with seeking out new ways of observing, e.g. via perspective correction or photographic commentary on abstractions, as in the work of Jan Dibbets, or toying with abstractions and reality, as in the work of Ger van Elk—to cite the two best-known examples. Faithful to what she had learned from Victor Candell, Bien works consistently on an oeuvre arising from her own life experience, as opposed to arising from art. In actuality, it is chiefly through this teacher/artist that she feels inspired.

In the world of Dutch art and photography, Ania Bien’s oeuvre has an identity all its own. It distinguishes itself through the form in which it is presented, related to the conceptual movements in art that emerged in the 1960s and ’70s. The individual objects (photos and other attributes) that make up Bien’s installations and projects—when observed objectively—are not particularly aesthetic in nature, but sometimes even unsightly in their mundaneness. Only in their shared context do they have a meaningful function. It is the subjective element in the choice of this context as well as the spatial effect that makes these installations and projects recognisable as products of Bien’s artistry. For the Amsterdam exhibition project City Thoughts, it was Bien who was selected by Ysbrand Hummelen: ‘Because she allows the quality of life and her art to coincide, without further pretensions.’ This is an excellent characterisation of Bien’s oeuvre and personality. Through the depth that she manages to achieve in her ideas and the way in which she chooses to give them form, one can call her oeuvre—with HOME being her pinnacle work up to this time—an important contribution to artistic production in the Netherlands.


Primary bibliography

Ania Bien, in Chrysalis (1978) 2, p. 141-153 (met foto’s).

[Brochure] Ania Bien kiest Nan Hoover. De kijk van de kunstenaar, Serie IV.4, Amsterdam (Stichting City Thoughts) 1985.

Catalogus tent. Hotel Polen, San Francisco/Amsterdam (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art/Amsterdams Historisch Museum) 1987.

Het offer, in Bulletin 69. Beroepsvereniging van Beeldende Kunstenaars BBK’69 (april 1987) 14, p. 2, 4, 6 (met foto’s).

Hotel Polen, in Creative Camera (1989) 1, p. 9-17 (met foto’s).

Ania Bien en Iris Dik, The witness, in Catalogus tent. Projectie/Reflectie, Amsterdam (Stichting Amazone) 1989, ongepag. (met foto’s).

Catalogus The Third Israeli Biennale of Photography, Ein Harod (Mishkan Leomanut Museum of Art) 1991, p. 32-34 (met foto’s).

Catalogus tent. HOME., Amsterdam (Joods Historisch Museum) 1993.


images in:

Nieuwsbulletin. Stichting vrouwen in de beeldende kunst 1 (juli 1978) 4, omslag.

Frank Gribling e.a., Twintigjaar beeldende kunst/Twenty years of fine art. Amsterdam 60/80, Fodor 1 (april/mei/ juni 1982) 8/9/10, p. 43.

Open deur/Goede tijding januari 1988, omslag.

Foto 45 (september 1990) 9, p. 81.

Leo Divendal (red.), De vierde wand. De foto als theater/The Fourth Wall. Photography as theatre, Amsterdam (Fragment) 1991, p. 102, 161.

Secundary bibliography

Shelley Rice, A step in the right direction, in Village Voice 27 juni 1977.

e.l.f. (= Els Le Fever), Ania Bien, in Catalogus tent. Atelier 14, Amsterdam (Stedelijk Museum) 1977, ongepag. (met foto’s).

Auteur onbekend, Ania Bien [recensie], in Art News oktober 1977.

Els le Fever-Barents, Ania Bien, in Catalogus tent. Aphoto, Milaan (Studio Marconi) november 1977, p. 28-33 (met foto’s).

Willem K. Coumans, Atelier 14 in het Stedelijk, in Foto 32 (december 1977) 12, p. 45.

Catalogus Amsterdam koopt kunst, Gemeentekunstaankopen 1977, Amsterdam z.j. [1978], p. 114-115.

Italo Mussa, ‘Aphoto e lo specifico fotografico’, in Studio Marconi 1/2 [Centro Culturale Milano] januari 1978, p. 49,54.

Andy Grundberg: ‘One + One = One’, in Modern Photography 42 (maart 1978) 3, p. 108-113.

Lily van Ginneken, Wars van commercie: Kleine galleries flink op dreef, in de Volkskrant 29 augustus 1978.

Catalogus tent. Aspecten hedendaagse fotografie, Schiedam (Stedelijk Museum) 1979, ongepag.

Walter Barten, Dialoog, in Het Financieele Dagblad 30 maart 1979.

Paul Groot, Ania Bien, in NRC Handelsblad 6 april 1979.

Catalogus Amsterdam koopt kunst. Gemeentekunstaankopen 1979, Amsterdam (Fodor) 1980, p. 16-17.

Catalogus tent. 1+1=11, Een groep kunstenaars toont haar werk, Amsterdam (Museum Fodor) 1980, p. 35.

Vouwblad tent. ‘1+1=11’, Tilburg (Kultureel Sentrum Tilburg) 1980, ongepag.

Walter Barten, Vrouwelijke kunstenaars in Fodor, in Het Financieele Dagblad ca. maart/april 1980.

Jacqueline Brody, [zonder titel; gehele nummer over fotografie], in The Print Collector’s Newsletter 11 (november/ december 1980) 5, p. 178, 181, 192.

Vouwblad tent. ‘To be continued – The Sequential Image in Photographic Books’, Rochester (Visual Studies Workshop) januari 1981.

Catalogus tent. Artists’ Tribute to Bertha Urdang, Jerusalem (Israël Museum) 1982, p. 16.

Catalogus tent. Dutch Directions, Berlijn/Amsterdam (Kunstlerhaus Bethanien/Fodor Museum) 1982, ongepag.

Lynn Zelevansky, Ania Bien, in Art News zomer 1982, p. 200.

Agenda Museum Fodor 2 (november 1982) 4, ongepag.

Catalogus tent. Invitational: An International Selection of Contemporary Photographs, Ontario (London Regional Art Gallery) 1983, p. 8-9.

Auteur onbekend, Ania Bien, in [Vouwblad] Fotografie, Museum Waterland [Purmerend] 3 (1983) 10, ongepag.

Amsterdam koopt kunst/Amsterdam buys art. Catalogus Amsterdamse aankopen 1981/1982, Fodor 2 (april 1983) 9, p. 16-17.

Catalogus tent. Kunst mit Eigen-Sinn, Aktuelle Kunst von Frauen, Wenen (Museum moderner Kunst) 1985, p. 123.

Catalogus tent. Signalen van buiten, Breda (De Beyerd) 1985, p. 3-5.

[Brochure] Ysbrand Hummelen kiest Ania Bien. De kijk van de kunstenaar, Serie IV.3, Amsterdam (Stichting City Thoughts) 1985.

(Vouwblad) Gemeenteaankopen II 1985, Amsterdam (Artoteek Osdorp, Noord en Oost) 1985, p. 9.

Catalogus tent. Fifteen Contemporary Artists from the Netherlands, Washington (I.M.F. Art Society) 1986, p. 30-31.

Jaarverslag Adviescommissie voor de toekenning van individuele subsidies aan beeldende kunstenaars vormgevers en architecten 1986/1987.

Stipendia 86-87. Werken op het gebied van fotografie, industriële vormgeving en landschapsarchitectuur, Amsterdam (WVC) 1987, p. 8-9.

Wim Broekman, Ania Bien. Relaties die onder de oppervlakte liggen, in Foto 42 (maart 1987) 3, p. 51-59 (met foto’s).

Herman Hoeneveld, Ania Bien; verhaal zonder woorden, in Kunstbeeld. Tijdschrift voor Beeldende Kunst 11 (maart 1987) 5, p. 59.

Alice Thibeau, Tres Bien, in San Francisco Focus mei 1987.

Joan Murray, The Substance of an Idea, in Artweek [San Francisco] 18 (30 mei 1987) 21, p. 11.

David Gadd, Three Shows Reveal the Legacy of a Great Curator (Van Deren Coke), in San Francisco Sentinel 24 juli 1987.

Janet Gallin, Ania Bien brings memories to the city, in B’nai B’rth Messenger augustus 1987.

Catalogus tent. A Priori Tekenen/Drawing, Amsterdam (Makkom) september 1987, p. 149-151.

Catalogus tent. Ruimte voor Vrouwen, Leiden (De Pieterskerk) september 1987, p. 12-13.

Buzz Spector, Ania Bien. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, in Artforum Reviews november 1987.

Leo Divendal, De associatie tussen Polen en Polen. Foto-installatie in Historisch Museum, in IJmuider Courant/Haarlems Dagblad januari 1988.

Ilse de Haan, Ania Biens Hotel Polen, in Ruimte 5 (1988) 2, omslag, p. 4-13 (met foto).

Bas Roodnat, Herinneringen aan vuur en dood in Hotel Polen. Fotografe Ania Bien verbindt eigen geschiedenis met die van voormalige bodega, in de Volkskrant 4 februari 1988.

Josephine van Bennekom, Herinneringen die de dood voorspellen. ‘Hotel Polen’, een benauwende foto-installatie van Ania Bien, in De Groene Amsterdammer 16 maart 1988, p. 17.

Jan Nieland, Ania Biens levensgevoel in Arnhems Gemeentemuseum. ‘Past Perfect’: gesloten boek, in De Gelderlander 1 november 1988.

Bas Roodnat, De sfeer die Kafka’s werk doordrenkt, in NRC Handelsblad 5 november 1988.

Catalogus tent. Onbegrensd Beeld, Sittard (Stichting Koda) 1989, ongepag.

Catalogus tent. Vijf jaar aanwinsten hedendaagse kunst 1984-1989, Arnhem (Gemeentemuseum Arnhem) 1989, p. 61.

David Levi Strauss, A second gaze. Ania Bien’s Hotel Polen, in Arts Magazine 63 (februari 1989), p. 51-53.

Iris Dik, Ania Bien: de kijker moet ergens in bijten en doorkauwen, in Forum 1(16 augustus 1990) 16, p. 27.

Catalogus tent. Oppositions. Commitment and cultural identity in contemporary photography from Japan, Canada, Brazil, The Soviet Union and The Netherlands. Fotografie Biennale Rotterdam II, Rotterdam (Uitgeverij 010) 1990, p. 44-45, 48-49, 141 (met foto’s).

Catalogus tent. Bevrijdingen. Hedendaagse kunst en historische documenten /Liberation. Contemporary Art and Historical Sources, Amsterdam (Joods Historisch Museum) 1990, p. 20-21, 36.

Walter Barten, Bevrijdingen, Kunst en documenten Joods Historisch Museum, in Het Financieele Dagblad 5/7 mei 1990, p. 12.

Cees van der Geer, Bevrijding verbeeld in zorgvuldige symboliek, in Rotterdams Nieuwsblad 25 mei 1990.

Leo Delfgaauw, Pro memorie, in Perspektief (september 1990) 39, p. 28-37 (met foto’s).

Catalogus Atelierroute. Zelfportret, Atelier Route, Amsterdam (Stichting Vrouwen in de Beeldende Kunst), 1991, ongepag.

Catalogus tent. Het Klimaat. Buitenlandse beeldend kunstenaars in Nederland, Den Haag/Amsterdam (Culturele Raad Zuid-Holland/Idea Books) 1991, p. 80.

Catalogus tent. Outer space: 8 Photo and Video Installations, London (South Bank Centre) 1991, p. 12-13.

Catalogus Amsterdam koopt kunst/ buys art. Gemeenteaankopen/Municipal art acquisitions 1990, Amsterdam (Fodor Museum) 1991, p.9.

Cees Strauss, Hoe het leven in elkaar steekt, ‘De Vierde Wand’, in Trouw 11 mei 1991, p. 21.

Kester Freriks, De hand op Kafka’s voorhoofd, in NRC Handelsblad 17 mei 1991.

David Mellor, The ghosts of Trans-Europa: Loss and the soul, in Catalogus tent. I/D Nationale, Edinburgh (Portfolio Gallery) 1992, p. 19-23.

Tim Hilton, All together now, but seperately, in The Guardian 26 maart 1992.

Sarah Kent, Outer Space, Camden Arts Centre in Time Out London 8-15 april 1992.

Caroline Smith, Outer Space. Camden Arts Centre, in What’s on in London 15 april 1992, p. 37.

Lynn MacRitchie, Photographic Exhibitions, in Financial Times [London] 16 april 1992.

Andrew Graham-Dixon, Postcards from the edge, in The Independent 21 april 1992.

Vouwblad Outer Space, Londen (Camden Arts Centre) 1992.

Val Williams, Yearning for a past. Stonefree/Outer Space/Doubletake, in Creative Camera juni /juli 1992, p. 47-48.

Liz Wells, Outer Space. A Photographic and Video Installation, in Women’s Art (juli/augustus 1992) 47, p. 22-23.

Meir Agassi, Ania Bien: Last Year in Marienbad – Auschwitz, in Studio Art Magazine september 1992, p. 50-52.

Clare Henry, No red roses for power men, in The Glasgow Herald 18 december 1992.

Andrew Gibbon Williams, Artistic vision of national identity, in The Sunday Times Scotland 20 december 1992.

Catalogus tent. Leerschool der Photografie, Lokaal 01, Breda (Hans Biezen; in eigen beheer) 1993, p. 9.

Catalogus tent. Public and Private. Secrets must circulate, Edinburgh 1993, p. 65, 70-71.

Catalogus tent. Ver=Hier, Sittard (Het Nederlands Fotomuseum) 1993, p. 11.

Ruth Charity, I-D Nationale, in Portfolio Magazine (voorjaar 1993) 16, p. 14-15.

Twenty five years. 1968-1993 From photograph to image, in Creative Camera (april/mei 1993) 331, p. 32-33, 83.

Josephine van Bennekom, Fotografe Ania Bien: De waarheid is niet altijd mooi, in Trouw 28 augustus 1993.

Sally Swingewood, HOME sweet home, in Time Out Amsterdam, september 1993.

Jenny Wesly, HOME. Aanklacht tegen leegte in onszelf, in NIW. Nieuw Israelietisch Weekblad 10 september 1993.

P.D., Joods Historisch Museum. Getuigenis van moreel failliet, in de Volkskrant 23 september 1993.

Mirelle Thijsen, Groot, grijs en grauw. Het sombere fotowerk van Ania Bien, in Het Financieele Dagblad 2 /4 oktober 1993. p. 10.

Ole Bouman, Huis, punt, in De Groene Amsterdammer6 oktober 1993, p. 22.

Catalogus tent. de ander, l’autre, der Andere (Werner Mantz Prijs 1994), Sittard (Het Nederlands Fotomuseum) 1994 p. 4-6.

Catalogus tent. Een stemming. 75 Jaar vrouwenkiesrecht. Hedendaagse kunst van vrouwelijke kunstenaars, Den Haag (Ministerie van binnenlandse zaken) 1994, p. 32-33.

Catalogus tent. A Pressing Engagement: ‘Ontheemde Kinderen’. De Nieuwe Wereld Markt, Den Haag (Het Binnenhof) 1994.

Catalogus tent. Warworks, Rotterdam/Londen (Nederlands Foto Instituut/Victoria & Albert Museum) 1994, p. 72-75.

Diny van den Manakker, Kinderen Levensgroot, in Vrij Nederland (9 april 1994) 14, p. 55-57.

Saskia Wolda, War Works, in Ruimte. Kwartaalschrift vrouwen in de beeldende kunst 11 (1994) 3/4, p. 16-23.

Auteur onbekend, Warworks: women, photography and the iconography of war. Een nieuwe kijk op oorlog, in Photo International Rotterdam (gratis krant t.g.v. fotomanifestatie), 29 september tot en met 6 november 1994, p. 10.

Liz Wells, The Eyes of Europe, in Women’s Art Magazine (1994) 59 [special photography issue], p. 30, 32.

Paul Steenhuis, Kinderen zonder thuis, in NRC Handelsblad 30 december 1994.

Arno Haijtema, Kinderen in een niemandsland, in de Volkskrant 2 januari 1995, p. 10.

Val Williams, Prints of Darkness, in The Guardian 12 januari 1995, p. 6-7.

David Levi Strauss, Aharon Gluska, in Artforum International Reviews mei 1995, p. 102.

Nicola Kearton, Photography in the Visual Arts, in Art & Design 9 oktober 1995.

Catalogus tent. ‘Alles op een dag’, Museum Jan Cunen, Oss (Museum Jan Cunen), 1997, ongepag.

Catalogus tent. Miriam’s Cups. Drawing from the source, New York (Hebrew Union College) 1997, ongepag.

Catalogus Sotheby’s. Photographs, New York October 8, 1997, New York 1997.

Mark Haworth-Booth, Photography: an independent art. Photographs from the Victoria & Albert Museum, 1839-1996, Princeton (Princeton University) 1997, p. 194.

Catalogus Sotheby’s. Photographs, April 7, 1998, New York 1998.


Beroepsvereniging van beeldende kunstenaars BBK’69, 1975 tot opheffing (1988).


1977 (g) Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Ateliers 14.

1977 (g) Livorno, Galeria Peccolo, Aphoto.

1977 (g) Milano, Studio Marconi, Aphoto.

1977 (g) New York, Sequential 77.

1977 (e) New York, Castelli Uptown, Ania Bien: Photo Sequences.

1977 (g) New York, Castelli Graphics, Some Color Photographs.

1977 (g) Rome, Galeria Lateria.

1977 (g) San Francisco, Galerie Paule Anglim.

1978 (e) Amsterdam, Galerie A+, Wind drawings.

1978 (g) Amsterdam, Museum Fodor.

1978 (g) Amsterdam, P.I.A.C, 1978 uitgeschetst.

1978 (g) Antwerpen, I.C.C.

1978 (g) Washington D.C., Sander Gallery.

1979 (g) Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum.

1979 (e) Amsterdam, Article Gallery (Van Krimpen), Ania Bien drawings and photo-works.

1979 (g) Amsterdam, P.I.A.C.

1979 (g) Den Haag, Galerie Nouvelles Images.

1979 (e) Livorno, Galeria Peccolo.

1979 (g) Schiedam, Stedelijk Museum, Aspecten Hedendaagse Fotografie.

1979 (e) Warschau, Galeria Remont.

1980 (g) Amsterdam, Museum Fodor, ‘The Critic Sees’-deel 2. De keuze van de kunstkritici.

1980 (e) Amsterdam, Art Something.

1980 (g) Amsterdam, Museum Fodor, 1+1=11.

1980 (g) Amsterdam, Museum Fodor, Amsterdam Collection 1980.

1980 (g) Maastricht, Bonnefantenmuseum.

1980 (g) New York, A.I.P.A.D.’s Fine Art Photography Exposition.

1980 (g) New York, Marion Goodman/Multiples

1980 (g) New York, Touchstone Gallery.

1980 (g) Paris, Chantal Crousel.

1980 (g) Schiedam, Stedelijk Museum.

1980 (g) Tilburg, Gemeentemuseum.

1981 (e) Den Bosch, Kruithuis, Berlin Diary.

1981 (g) Maastricht, Bonnefantenmuseum.

1981 (g) New York, International Center of Photography.

1981 (g) Parijs, Centre Georges-Pompidou. Musee National d’Art Moderne, Autoportraits Photographiques (1898-1981).

1981 (g) Rochester, Visual Studies Workshop.

1981 (g) Wenen, Erweiterte Fotografie (5. Internationale Biennale).

1982 (g) Amsterdam, Museum Fodor, Dutch Directions.

1982 (g) Berlijn, Bethanien Kunstlerhaus, Dutch Directions.

1982 (g) Jerusalem, Israël Museum, Bertha Urdang Collection.

1982 (e) New York, Bertha Urdang Gallery, Ania Bien. Transmigrations.

1982 (g) New York, Bertha Urdang Gallery, A Ten Year Survey.

1982 (g) New York, Bertha Urdang Gallery, Three From Amsterdam.

1982 (g) Parijs, Galerie Chantal Crousel.

1983 (g) Ontario, London Regional Gallery, Invitational: An international selection of comtemporary photography.

1983 (g) Amsterdam, Galerie Biederberg Muller.

1983 (g) Amsterdam, Museum Fodor, Amsterdam Collection 1982.

1983 (g) Holland (Michigan), Hope College.

1983 (e) Purmerend, Waterland Museum, Fotografie.

1984 (g) New York, Bertha Urdang Gallery, Contemporary Photography.

1985 (e) Amsterdam, Stichting City Thoughts (Oude Zijds Voorburgwal 131), De kijk van de kunstenaar. Serie IV.3 (Ysbrand Hummelen kiest Ania Bien).

1985 (g) Breda, De Beyerd, Signalen van buiten.

1985 (g) Wenen, Museum Moderner Kunst, Kunst mit Eigen Sinn.

1986 (g) Rotterdam, Kasteel van Rhoon.

1986 (g) Washington D.C., I.M.F. Art Society, 15 Artists from The Netherlands.

1987 (g) Amsterdam, BBK69 (Palmdwarsstraat 40), Expositie 69 (Ania Bien enjoseph Semah).

1987 (g) Amsterdam, Galerie Makkom, A Priori Drawing.

1987 (g) Chicago, Renaissance Society.

1987 (e) Eindhoven, Apollohuis, [foto-installatie met foto’s uit serie Hotel Polen].

1987 (g) Leiden, Pieterskerk, Ruimte voor vrouwen (SVBK).

1987 (e) Maastricht, Jan van Eyck Akademie, The Maze. Uptown Downtown.

1987 (e) San Francisco, Humphrey Gallery at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Hotel Polen.

1988 (e) Amsterdam, Amsterdams Historisch Museum, Hotel Polen.

1988 (g) Amsterdam, Stadhouderskade 6, Stipendia 86-87.

1988 (e) Arnhem, Gemeentemuseum Arnhem, Past Perfect.

1989 (g) Amsterdam , Artoteek Noord, acht fotografen.

1989 (g) Amsterdam, Stichting Amazone, Projektie/Reflektie. Nederlandse fotografes portretteren zichzelf.

1989 (e) Sittard, Museum Den Tempel, Ania Bien (i.k.v. een reeks van vijf beeldende kunsttentoonstelling onder de titel Onbegrensd Beeld).

1990 (g) Amsterdam, Joods Historisch Museum, Bevrijdingen. Hedendaagse kunst en historische documenten.

1990 (g) Rotterdam, Voormalig hoofdkantoor Holland Amerika Lijn, Oppositions. Engagement en culturele identiteit in de hedendaagse fotografie uit Brazilië, Canada, Japan, de Sovjet-Unie en Nederland/Commitment and cultural identity in contemporary photography from Japan, Canada, Brazil, The Soviet Union and The Netherlands (Fotografie Biennale Rotterdam II).

1990 (g) Sittard, Kritzreadthuis, Zonder Namen.

1991 (e) Amsterdam, Galerie d’Theeboom, Het Klimaat.

1991 (g) Amsterdam, Museum Fodor.

1991 (g) Amsterdam, Oude Kerk, De Vierde Wand. De foto als theater/The Fourth Wall. Photography as theatre (rondreizende tentoonstelling).

1991 (g) Ein Harod, Mishkan Le’Omanut Museum of Art, The Persistence of Memory (3rd Israeli Photography Biennale).

1992 (g) Amsterdam, Museum Fodor, Fodor Longa, Res Brevis.

1992 (g) Amsterdam, SVBK.

1992 (g) Arnhem, Gemeentemuseum, Amnesty International 1991 .(In Memoriam Vilem Flusser).

1992 (g) Bristol, Arnolfini Gallery.

1992 (g) Edinburgh, Portfolio Gallery, I/D Nationale.

1992 (e) Groningen, USVA, Fotowerken.

1992 (g) Londen, Camden Arts Centre, Outer Space.

1992 (g) New York, Bertha Urdang Gallery.

1993 (e) Amsterdam, Joods Historisch Museum, HOME.

1993 (g) Breda, Lokaal 01, Leerschool der Photografie.

1993 (g) Den Haag, Burgerzaal van de Tweede Kamer, Een Stemming.

1993 (g) Edinburgh, Public Private. Secrets must circulate (Fotofeis. Scottish International Festival of Photography).

1993 (g) Sittard, Het Domein. Het Nederlands Fotomuseum, Ver=Hier.

1994 (g) Amsterdam, IIVA, Een Stemming.

1994 (e) Amsterdam, De Rode Hoed, HOME. (expositie tijdens bijeenkomst Met je intimiteit op straat, rond thema ‘dak- en thuisloosheid’).

1994 (g) Bradford, The National Museum of Photography Film & Television, Messages from Europe Conference.

1994 (g) Den Haag, Het Binnenhof, A Pressing Engagement.

1994 (g) Leiden, Centrum Beeldende Kunst Leiden, A Pressing Engagement.

1994 (g) Rotterdam, Nederlands Foto Instituut, Private Stories.

1994 (g) Rotterdam, Nederlands Foto Instituut, Warworks.

1994 (g) Sittard, Het Domein. Het Nederlands Fotomuseum, De Ander. L’Autre. Der Andere (Werner Mantz Prijs).

1995 (g) Aken, Ludwig Forum, Drei Ausstellungen zur Fotografie.

1995 (g) Amsterdam, Oude Kerk, A Pressing Engagement.

1995 (g) Amsterdam, Stichting Dunhill Dutch Fotografie, Het Vervolg.

1995 (g) London, Victoria & Albert Museum, Warworks.

1997 (g) New York, Hebrew Union College, Miriam’s Cups, Drawing from the Source.

1999 (g) Arnhem, Museum van Moderne Kunst, Woord en beeld.

Sequences, Projects, Installations

1974 Self Portrait.

1974 Tulips no. 1 t /m 6.

1974 Reflection.

1975 Graffiti Wall (Garage).

1975 Bridge.

1975 Tree no. 1 en 2.

1975 Basketball Court.

1975 Corner no. 1 en 2.

1976 Corner no. 3 en 4.

1976 Wall in shadow.

1976 Castel St. Angelo.

1976 Villa Medici Garden.

1976 The Dike.

1976 Doors.

1976 Swimming Pool.

1977 Trottoirbanden.

1979 Remembrance I en II.

1979 Transit I and II.

1979 Lac Noir, Lac Blanc.

1980 Mathematics of the Absurd.

1980 Metaphor.

1980 Transient matter.

1980 Evolution and Dissolution of Form.

1981 Checkpoint Charlie.

1982 The Nature of Water.

1982 The Structure of Water.

1983 Zelfportretten.

1985 Insomnia (City Thoughts Project).

1985 Signalen van buiten.

1986 Hotel Polen.

1986 American Indian Symbols.

1987 The Maze.

1988 Past Perfect.

1989 In the New World.

1991 Hollands Landschap (Homage a Baselitz).

1991 Amnesty 1991 (In Memoriam Villem Flusser).

1992 HOME..

1992 Madonna of Sarajevo.

1994 Ontheemde kinderen.

1997 Miriam’s Cups.

Radio programs

14 januari 1995 Meridan Reports (n.a.v. tentoonstelling Warworks) (BBC World Service).

Television programs

22 november 1988 Entree (n.a.v. tentoonstelling Past Perfect) (NCRV).


Amsterdam, Ania Bien (documentatie en mondelinge informatie).

Leiden, Prentenkabinet, bibliotheek en documentatiebestand.


Amsterdam, Gemeentearchief.

Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum.

Arnhem, Gemeentemuseum.

Brunswick (Maine), Bowdoin College Museum.

Den Haag, Ministerie van WVC.

Frankfurt, Polaroid Corporation Collection.

Jerusalem, Israël Museum.

Leiden, Prentenkabinet van de Universiteit Leiden.

Londen, Victoria & Albert Museum.

Northampton (Mass.), Smith College Museum.

Parijs, Bibliothèque Nationale.

Sittard, Stedelijk Museum Het Domein (voorheen: Het Domein. Het Nederlands Fotomuseum).