Susanne Kriemann

Susanne Kriemann

Kunsthalle Winterthur

Susanne Kriemann, “Untitled (A Silent Crazy Jungle under Glass),” 2011.
C-print on pearl paper, 126 x 153 cm.*

August 11, 2011

Susanne Kriemann

21 August–25 September 2011

Saturday, 20 August at 5 pm

Kunsthalle Winterthur
Marktgasse 25

CH – 8400 Winterthur
T: +41 52 267 51 32
Wed–Fri 12–6 pm, Sat/ Sun 12–4 pm

Susanne Kriemann (*1972 in Erlangen, lives and works in Rotterdam and Berlin) composes her works based on historical and social research. She reprints historical pictures and other archival materials and combines them with her own new photographs. The convolution of pictures emerges as a result of visual association and formal analogies, while arising from the original context of the pictures. The inherent ambiguity between visual and textual content undermines the status of photography as an ideal medium for documentation; a picture does not so much conserve information, it is only its representation. Kriemann’s work thus addresses Modernism’s key question regarding the intrinsic value of a picture.

At Kunsthalle Winterthur, Kriemann will show two comprehensive photo installations. The panoptic One Time One Million (2009) presents product photographs of an original Hasselblad camera next to pictures of individual birds, flocks of birds, and aerial views of housing developments. The pictures are part of a suggestive visual network while at the same time remaining autonomous. The motives share a context that is based on information: Victor Hasselblad, who invented the world famous camera, was an enthusiastic ornithologist and took hundreds of pictures of birds. The flocks of birds pictured evoke the issue of migration, providing a key to the images of the housing development: built in the suburbs of Stockholm in the 1970s, they were intended for Swedish workers, but quickly turned into ghettos for migrants, in particular war and economic refugees.

In her 2011 work Untitled (A Silent Crazy Jungle under Glass) Kriemann combines historical forms of abstraction with aspects of the archive, the latter a consistent topic in her practice. The project challenges the status of “reality”—highly desirable in an archive, inevitable in photography, and unwanted in abstraction. There are visual analogies between archives and abstraction, as, for example, in the formal restraint of stacked paper and archival boxes, that can be evocative of geometric abstraction. With this kind of visual analogy Kriemann asks whether archives do not lack relation to everyday life, to reality, and conversely, whether they do not turn into an epitome of the perfect abstract picture.

Kriemann juxtaposes a selection of new prints with reprints of historical photographs and pictures that are projected with old-fashioned episcopes. With their almost brutal, dominant presence the episcopes impressively demonstrate the aesthetic quality of the medium. At the same time, however, due to its powerful lamp, the episcope will slowly destroy the information that it is meant to present. While to conserve information is their most important function, archives are persistently precarious. Information always requires a medium in order to become accessible, but this is exactly where intrinsic value becomes a problem: as time goes by, the piles of paper eventually turn into blocks of stone. All efforts to neutralize these natural processes of decay and disintegration, however, are ultimately in vain; only the abstract picture can be a perfect archive.

On the occasion of her show at Kunsthalle Winterthur, the publication Reading Susanne Kriemann will be presented to the public. It contains a selection of texts about Susanne Kriemann’s work and an interview with the artist. The book—which intentionally takes the format of a reader in order to reflect upon Kriemann’s intertextual, intermedial and process-oriented approach—is edited by Hans Dickel and Lisa Pupylat and is published by Sternberg Press, Berlin.

Susanne Kriemann’s exhibition is supported by the City of Winterthur, Friends of the Kunsthalle, Federal Office of Culture, Kulturstiftung Winterthur, Migros Culture Percentage, Ziegler Druck- und Verlags-AG, Mondriaan Stichting, Amsterdam, Künstlerhaus Schloß Balmoral, Bad Ems, KASK Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten, Gent

*Image above:
Courtesy Susanne Kriemann, RaebervonStenglin, Zurich, Wilfried Lentz, Rotterdam.

Susanne Kriemann
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