Susanne Kriemann: Everything was soulful and all souls were one
The central piece of the exhibition is a slide series of abstract shots displaying dense woodland – shot by Kriemann from a helicopter – in an area that was the air corridor to Berlin during the cold war. This slide installation is supplemented by a selection of prints from the National Archives in Washington (USA) re-photographed and cropped by the artist, as well as additional photographs taken by unknown officers and saved from garbage by American aeronautic historian Dr. John Provan.
Continuing her interest and research of the symbolic meaning of artifacts and architecture from the last seventy years, and the role of photography, Kriemann found herself amongst the most obscure archives of American reconnaissance photography. Amid her findings, she discovered a collection of blurred espionage photographs taken during US aerial missions in the 1950s. In order to catch a glimpse behind the Iron Curtain extraordinary measures were taken to make earth observation possible. It was a challenging process due to technical limitations to return the fuzzy reconnaissance pictures to the base and then attempting to interpret the pictures, determining what was deemed to be a threat from the Russians and what could be disregarded.
As these blurred photographs are exhibited and viewed retrospectively, all of their original meaning and knowledge seems to have evaporated, leaving the abstraction and the fuzziness as the only entities for renewed interpretations within an artistic realm.
The exhibition explores a diverse range of subjects: Firstly, the archive as both a physical object as well as an increasingly immaterial source representing an entire industry of memory; secondly, how political history is documented, archived and then forgotten about becoming a sediment pile of paper reminiscent of Jurassic limestone formations; and thirdly, abstraction as a (seemingly utopian) means of artistic freedom and a true expression of the idea that an artwork can be liberated from political references.
Kriemann’s practice consists mainly of photography, printed matter and the appropriation of photographic imagery. She has participated in numerous international group exhibitions, such as the 5th Berlin Biennale (2008) and TRACK Gent (2012). Comprehensive solo exhibitions of her work have been mounted by the SMBA in Amsterdam (2009), Künstlerhaus Stuttgart(2009), the Berlinische Galerie (2010), the Kunsthalle Winterthur (2011) and the Kunstverein Braunschweig (2012). This fall she will participate in the opening show “Beyond Imagination” of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.