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Announcement
March 8, 2016

Susanne Kriemann

Schering Stiftung
Susanne Kriemann, Pechblenden 1 (AMNH), 2015. Auto-radiograph, test 1/1, sample C59072, pitchblende, Saxony, Germany, 8 x 10 inches. Collection of the American Museum of Natural History.

Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art and the Ernst Schering Foundation are pleased to present two solo exhibitions featuring a new body of work by German artist Susanne Kriemann. Pechblende (Prologue), curated by Jayne Wilkinson, will be exhibited at Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art (Toronto) until March 26, and Pechblende (Chapter 1), curated by Heike Catherina Mertens, will be exhibited at the Ernst Schering Foundation (Berlin) from March 18 to June 5, with an opening reception on March 17 from 7 to 9pm.

Centred on the mineral “pechblende” (the German word for a type of uraninite), Kriemann’s two-part exhibition traces a history of scientific and photographic processes narrated through the interconnected sites of laboratory, archive, museum and mine. Highly radioactive and uranium rich, pechblende was relentlessly mined in the Ore Mountains of the former German Democratic Republic between 1946 and 1989, ultimately facilitating nuclear armament in the USSR. Despite the toxicity of the mines, and the documented health threats to the miners who worked there, the landscape of the Ore Mountains has now been transformed into a tranquil mountain vista, with few recognizable traces of the still-radiating industrial worksites.

Concerned with both the literal and the political invisibility of radioactivity, Kriemann worked with scientists at the American Museum of Natural History (New York), the National Archives (Washington, D.C.) and the Museum of Natural History (Berlin) to produce various versions of an “auto-radiograph”–a unique type of photograph that is the result of directly exposing light-sensitive paper to radioactive specimens. This cameraless exposure results in an indexical but highly abstract image, one that is haunted by impressions of the iconic nuclear mushroom cloud and its blinding light.

In Pechblende (Prologue), Kriemann combines her own auto-radiographs and photograms with archival images drawn from various sources, including aerial and scientific photographs that demonstrate how animal, plant and human life is contaminated by radiation. In Pechblende (Chapter 1), Kriemann incorporates a range of museum objects, including tools, chains and clothing, that together refer to the toxic history of uranium mining and its impact on the body of the miner. Illuminating these objects through a range of analogue photographic processes, including the auto-radiograph and the camera obscura, Kriemann reflects on the artistic possibilities of making the invisible visible.

Kriemann’s multi-year research project also includes a virtual library in development at www.pechblende.org, which will make a steadily growing collection of texts and images available to the public. An artist’s book, published by Spector Books, will be launched at the Ernst Schering Foundation on June 3, at 2pm.

About the artist
Susanne Kriemann, born in Erlangen, Germany, in 1972, is an artist living and working in Berlin. She studied under Joseph Kosuth and Joan Jonas at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste (Stuttgart) and later attended the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts (Paris). In her expansive projects, she often combines her own images with collected and found photographs in order to investigate issues of historiography, archival knowledge, and the connections between art, literature and archaeology. Her work has been exhibited in solo exhibitions across Europe, including at the Künstlerhaus Stuttgart; Kunsthalle Winterthur (Germany); Arnolfini Center for Contemporary Arts (Bristol); and 21er Haus (Vienna). In addition to her installations, she has published numerous artist books, including Duskdust (Sternberg Press, 2016), Ray (Rome, 2014), Ashes and broken brickwork of a logical theory (Rome, 2011) and One Time One Million (Rome, 2009). Recently a visiting scholar at Parsons The New School of Design (New York), she is a long-term artist advisor and researcher at the Jan Van Eyck Academie (Maastricht, The Netherlands) and is represented by Galerie Wilfried Lentz (Rotterdam) and Galerie Raebervon Stenglin (Zürich).

Acknowledgements
For their support of Pechblende (Prologue), Prefix ICA gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts and the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council. For their support of the project, Prefix ICA and Ernst Schering Foundation thank Lutz Seiler, American Museum of Natural History (New York), National Archives (Washington, D.C.), Museum für Naturkunde (Berlin) and Museum Uranbergbau (Bad Schlema, Germany), Image Knowledge Gestaltung, Cluster of Excellence at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Stiftung Kunstfonds.
For more information, images or to schedule an interview with the artist, please contact:

Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art
Alysha Rajkumar, Gallery Manager
T +01 416 591 0357 / [email protected]
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Ernst Schering Foundation
Andrea Bölling, Public Relations, Ernst Schering
T +49 30 20 62 29 60 / [email protected]
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Susanne Kriemann at Prefix ICA and Ernst Schering Foundation

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