RAY, 2013-14

© Susanne Kriemann Ray, 2013-14 Photo/ Susanne Kriemann

RAY, 2013-14

Susanne Kriemann

No brightness enters from above, that in the open flits through even the deepest midnight; no moonlight can break through the cloud, no tomorrow can darkly announce its approach: All light is artificial light, although occasionally glistening, as for instance down at the reloading site, the “filling site”, the duct ramp on the inside of the mine (the mine surface is above the reloading site), or at the important stations, in workshops, above the main extraction drifts, but this light doesn’t reach far into the mine, a few meters of sallowness between lamp and lamp, and where the central lighting ends, the darkness is only penetrated by the light each person wears on their helmet.
Franz Führmann, Im Berg – Texte und Dokumente aus dem Nachlaß, 1993


In her work RAY, the artist Susanne Kriemann investigates the connections between light, photography, radiation and rare earth materials. She looks at a particular element called gadolinite that in the early days of electric lightning was used in the manufacture of filaments. This technique soon became obsolete, but today gadolinite has again become an essential material in the production of LEDs, used for example to light up smartphone screens. The work consists of several elements.

A radiogram, exhibited on two copper strips, shows an image created by exposing a rock with radioactive gadolinite for several days onto photographic film in complete darkness.
A photograph presents a red granite boulder that was found near the area in Texas where Robert Smithson realised his final land art project Amarillo Ramp.
It is confronted with eight photographs of the landscape near the former Barringer Hill mine, a geological site in Central Texas where gadolinite was mined for the first time in North America. The prints have been solarized by the light of a smartphone, and are displayed on a sheet of raw copper, an element that is mined for the use as an electrically conductive material. Similar to chemical processes that slowly reveal the radioactivity on photographic film, copper oxidises and is therefore an indicator for the time that passes. All three components of the work are illuminated by a LED bulb, which like early filament bulbs, also uses gadolinium.

Susanne Kriemann (DE)

Susanne Kriemannis an artist and university professor at Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design, she lives and works in Berlin and Karlsruhe. Within her research-based work, Kriemann investigates the medium of photography in the context of social history and archival practice. With an extended notion of the photographic document, she has most recently reflected on the world as an analogue “recording system” for human-caused processes. This has lead to preoccupations with radioactivity and mining, but also with archaeology and landmarks in previous works as well as to a media archaeological interest in photography and connections that can be made to a history of military technology.

After completing her studies at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart in 1997, where she studied under Joseph Kosuth and Joan Jonas, Kriemann enrolled in the Programme de recherche at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 2000. Besides having exhibited her work internationally in cities including Basel, Toronto, Shanghai, Vienna, Vancouver, Paris, and Rotterdam, the artist has also created sixteen artist’s books as multiples since 1998. She has taken part in various artist residency programs, including in Moscow, Stockholm, Cairo, and Vienna. Together with Aleksander Komarov, she is one of the cofounders of the artist-run initiative AIR Berlin AlexanderplatzThe artist is represented by the galleries Wilfried Lentz and RaebervonStenglin (2009–16).

13 February - 1 March

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