Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
Susanne Kriemann deals in her art with radioactive radiation and the effects of civilisation on nature. In the exhibition Reconsidering Photography: Underbrush, the artist places two of her work complexes in dialogue with historical photographs and prints from the collection of the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MK&G). Kriemann uses not only photography in her work but also draws on historical printing methods such as photogravure, for example when she tries to capture the radioactivity of contaminated plants in Gessenwiese, Kanigsberg (2017–2020). She extracts the pigment for this process from the affected plants themselves, thus making radioactivity a physical component of her images. An installation of plant samples in the show gives an insight into the development of her photogravures.
For the second work series on view, Mngrv (2018–2020), which she produced especially for the show, Kriemann was inspired by the so-called nature-printed engravings made by botanists Constantin von Ettingshausen (1826–1897) and Alois Pokorny (1826–1886). She makes prints based on photographs of mangrove plants, into which she also incorporates pieces and structural elements of plastic waste she collects in the mangrove forests of South and South-East Asia.
In the show, Kriemann juxtaposes her two series with around forty works from the Photography and New Media Collection at MK&G, thus establishing a connection with historical printing techniques. Her intuitive selection of photogravures, pigment prints and nature-printed engravings is oriented around motifs derived from underbrush. The works on view were produced by artists including Annie W. Brigman (1869–1950), Clarence Hudson White (1871–1925), Gertrude Käsebier (1852–1934), Alice Boughton (1867–1943), Oscar (1871–1937) and Theodor Hofmeister (1868–1943), and Heinrich Kühn (1866–1944).