Dyeing until the water runs clean

curated by Martin Schwander

Kunstforum Baloise , Aeschengraben 21, CH-4002 Basel

Open by appointment: isabelle.guggenheim@baloise.com / Tel. +41 58 285 74 71

The scientific approach, which Susanne Kriemann has followed in Dyeing till the water runs clean led her to the region around Schlema (Erzgebirge). In this area, in the GDR from 1946 to 1991, the highly radioactive mineral pitchblende (uraninite) was mined and thus contributed significantly to the nuclear rearmament of the USSR.

In a large-scale renaturation program the restoration of the landscape is planned to be finished by 2045.
Starting from the phenomenon of the invisibility of radioactivity, Kriemann photographed herbs and flowers growing on this site and thereby documents a section of the landscape at a specific point in time of their renaturation process. These photographs form the basis for the heliogravures, a photographic printing process that has been popular in the late 19th century. The elaborate gravure allows a very fine gradation of color values and is a unique combination of craft printing technology and photographic reproduction process. Kriemann increases the ambivalence of the images, by inking the printing plates with the uran-containing pigments of the depicted herbs and plants.