Susanne Kriemann (1972, Germany) lives and works in Berlin. She is professor for Artistic Photography at the University of Arts and Design Karlsruhe (2017-2023) and co-founder of the artist initiative ABA in Berlin.
Kriemann investigates the medium of photography in the context of social history and archival practice. With an extended notion of the photographic document, she reflects on the world as an analogue ‘recording system’ for human-caused processes. This has led to preoccupations with radioactivity and mining, archaeology and the notion of slow violence. A focus on ecology is prevalent in Kriemann’s subjects. To perceive polluted areas as vast photosensitive arrays is key to her understanding of landscape. An exceptional feature is the extraction of pigments from the investigated matter and the use of those pigments to produce her pictures.

Kriemann’s work was exhibited internationally at, among others, The Wattis Institute, San Francisco; Kunsthalle Wien, The Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and Kunsthalle Winterthur. Recently, solo exhibitions of her work were on view at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg and Salonul de projecte, Bucarest. Kriemann has participated, among others, in the 3rd Chennai Photo Biennale, the 4th Kyiv Biennial, the 11th Shanghai Biennial, the 10th and 11th Gothenburg Biennial and the 5th Berlin Biennial. Furthermore, she participated in various artist residency programs including the 2019 NTU Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore and The Goethe Institute, Colombo. Publications play a major role in her practice; since 1998 she has made seventeen artist books.

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Statement on sustainability
Studio Susanne Kriemann

Studio Susanne Kriemann’s long-term preoccupation with ecological issues, radioactivity, mining and contaminated landscapes also gave rise to a questioning of the photographic medium and the aim of establishing a sustainable working practice. A critical view of the medium is intrinsic to Susanne Kriemann’s work, not only through her thematic engagement with topics such as rare earths, cell phones, cameras and surveillance, but also from a conceptual perspective. We are aware that the medium of photography is closely entangled with capitalist and extractivist structures, and thus also with the climate crisis. We reflect that photographic materials and technology are contributing to the exploitation of natural resources and the mining of metals and rare earths. Toxic photographic processes leave behind environmental damage and digital photography results in endless data storage with ever-growing emissions and mountains of e-waste. In the exhibition Mining Photography (MK&G Hamburg, 2022; Kunst Haus Wien 2023; Gewerbemuseum Winterthur 2023), which was dedicated to the material history of raw materials in photography and made the connection to the history of their extraction, disposal and climate change, and in which Susanne Kriemann was also involved, this criticism was not only made globally clear, but also alternative, more ecological approaches to photography were presented on the basis of many artistic works.

Art and photography can contribute to change, they can tell stories and inspire, question and initiate discussions. We see an important role for art in the transformation of society and we want to support this with our work. That is why we consider our social and ecological responsibility in every project and our work follows principles of sustainability. With this statement, we would like to make the working methods and production of Studio Susanne Kriemann transparent and declare our intention to regularly examine our own actions.

We take sustainability very seriously in our artistic and exhibition production. We plan our projects with foresight and act responsibly on both an ecological and social level, implementing sustainable work in our studio in the long term. Materials are used sparingly, purchased for the long term or a later use is considered. Packaging materials are always stored and reused. For exhibitions, we also make sure to use architectures, displays, materials and equipment that are available in the institution or studio, or we try to borrow them. Furthermore, we always strive to ensure the long-term use or reuse of presentation materials after the exhibition and borrow them, for example from production processes, only for the duration of the exhibition.

Studio Susanne Kriemann produces locally and works with institutions such as Handsiebdruckerei, Keystone Editions and BBK Druckwerkstatt. If this is the sustainable alternative, we produce locally at the respective exhibition venue. We avoid high-emission transportation by producing on site or only transporting light work. We organize inner-city transport by cargo bike or as collective transport. Wherever possible, we travel by train; we plan air travel for the long term and combine it with other meetings or projects in the vicinity where possible.

We also produce our publications as environmentally friendly as possible and pay attention to the use of non-toxic inks, format and sheet-filling design and certified paper. We work with environmentally conscious printers and publishers who pay attention to sustainability. In addition to certified Blue Angel environmental paper, we have also worked exclusively with waste paper for past book projects (e.g. Ge(ssenwiese) K(anigsberg), P(ech) B(lende), Library for radioactive afterlife). Here in the studio we are researching further sustainable production possibilities, such as handmade papers.

Studio Susanne Kriemann is part of the Gallery Climate Coalition Berlin and we are working to further reduce our carbon footprint. We only use green electricity in the studio and pay attention to low water and energy consumption. To save emissions, we do not use cloud services, instead we store data and photos analogously on hard disks. For this website, we have checked that the images have the smallest possible footprint and reduced the number of images. We buy as consciously as possible, locally, plastic-free and with little packaging.

We make sure that all employees and people involved in studio work are named and paid in accordance with the fee guidelines and that flexible working hours ensure a good work-life balance. Since 2009, Susanne Kriemann has been involved in the artists’ initiative ABA in Berlin and, as an artist, is also committed to supporting other artists.

We are aware of the responsibility of the global North in the climate crisis. We pursue a decolonial approach and diversity and inclusion are important to us in all our projects. We break through unhealthy power spirals and hierarchies and draw attention to injustices. We constantly question the way we work, listen and learn, and are happy to share our knowledge. We are convinced that art can play a central role on the path to a fairer, more sustainable world and initiate social change processes, and we are intensively engaged with how we can negotiate the pressing current ecological and social issues. To this end, we also work actively with a number of scientists from different disciplines.

As a professor, Susanne Kriemann sees it as her task not only to discuss social issues, but also to act as a role model and pass on sustainability skills in artistic production.