Chapter 1// (becoming) MNRGV

With the art project Mngrv (2017-ongoing), Susanne Kriemann addresses a new plant species. The species Mngrv emerged in South and South-East Asia, where mangroves’ rhizomatic roots — always exposed to the rhythm of the tides — get entangled with fishnets, plastic waste, and oil remnants. Neither rope nor root, nylon nor plant, Mngrv is a material witness to the intertidal processes. For Mngrv, Kriemann imprints the photographs she took during field research in Sri Lanka, Singapore, and Indonesia with the plastic waste she found on location, using a chunk of raw oil picked in the water as binding agent for the pigment. In turn, these material intertwined procedures are shaped by the forces of capitalism, colonialism, and petroculture in which Kriemann and anyone engaging with the work are inevitably participate. The work process has a circular nature: Kriemann brings plastic waste found in Singapore, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka back to Germany, where part of it came from in the first place, and in return supports the community-based efforts of Desa Wisata Pengudang in Telok Sebong to sustain the mangrove habitats of Riau island.

In 2018, Susanne Kriemann first visited Telok Sebong on Bintan in Indonesia. Since then an exchange of pictures, information, and material was established between Iwan Winarto from Desa Wisata Pengudang and the artist. In this ongoing conversation, the circular nature of the work is constantly actualized.

Chapter 2// MNRGV (polymersday)

An assemblage of material sits in my studio in Berlin: ice-cream-packaging, a light-bulb, plastic slippers, endless ropes, a lump of compressed mineral oil, bleached coral, a safety buoy, shells and mangrove foliage. I collected these objects from different mangrove habitats on the island of Bintan, in the Riau Archipelago, South of Singapore. These objects script the beginning of the work Mngrv. 

Chapter 3// MNRGV (nylonynoon)

Mangroves are “botanical amphibians:” Deeply rooted in the sandy grounds, the complex network of trees is flooded by the sea in the respiring rhythm of the tide. Manifold materials of synthetic origin are looped around the skinny legs of the mangroves by the ebb and flow of the waves. In time, the mangroves fuse with polymers of all kinds; other lifeforms originate and thoughts on unavailability versus appropriation emerge while I photograph these landscapes.

About the artist

Susanne Kriemann (*1972, Germany) lives and works in Berlin. She is professor of Artistic Photography at the University of Arts and Design Karlsruhe and co-founder of the artist initiative AiR Berlin Alexanderplatz in Berlin.

Kriemann investigates the medium of photography in the context of social history and archival tradition. With an extended notion of the photographic document, she reflects on the world as an analogue “recording system” for human-caused processes.

Consequently, her preoccupations have come to centre on radioactivity, mining, archaeology, and the notion of slow violence. Ecology is a prevalent subject of Kriemann’s. The perception of polluted areas as vast photosensitive arrays is key to her understanding of landscape. An exceptional feature is the extraction of pigments from the investigated matter and the use of those pigments to produce and reproduce her pictures.

Kriemann’s work has been exhibited internationally, mentionably at The Wattis San Francisco, Kunsthalle Wien, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and Kunsthalle Winterthur. She participated in the 11th Shanghai Biennial, the 10th Gothenburg Biennial, the 5th Moscow Biennial, and the 5th Berlin Biennial.

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