Summary

In Gessenwiese, Kanigsberg, the artist shows a series of unique Héliogravures portraying plants and herbs that grow at former uranium mines in the eastern part of Germany.
Gessenwiese and Kanigsberg are former uranium mining territories in the GDR (1949–1990). Susanne Kriemann undertook field research with geologists and biologists from the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena who study the accumulatation of heavy metals in plants during the re-naturalisation processes in the area. She identified the three herbs most capable of extracting and storing their environmental pollutants: Falsche Kamille, Wilde Möhre, and Bitterkraut (False Chamomile, Wild Carrot, Ox Tongue). Concerned with the invisibility of radioactivity, Kriemann photographed these three types of herbs and harvested the plant material afterwards in order to make pigments for the production of Héliogravures.
Héliogravure is the oldest procedure for reproducing photographic images. It was first invented in the early 19th century by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce and was later perfected by William Henry Fox Talbot. This gravure printing is an elaborate process which enables subtle changes in the gradation of colour. The enigma of the prints is enhanced by tinting the printing plates with pigments containing uranium and other heavy metals from the plants and herbs depicted in the images.

EXHIBITION

Exhibition view 'Gessenwiese, Kanigsberg' at Wilfried Lentz, Rotterdam, 2017/18