Susanne Kriemann investigates the uses of photography as a documentary and historiographic tool and has stated her interest in how ‘photographs evoke imagination and mystery about the past’. She collects not only images but historical documents, vintage photographs, books, old newspaper articles and artefacts as part of her expanded photographic practice. Her photography records historical moments or sites and is often imbued with particular social and ideological meanings.
The originality of the avant-garde and other modernist myths (Sorting IV) 2004 is from a series of photographs Kriemann made inside a former post-sorting centre in Rotterdam, built in 1959. The De Stijl-inspired building, with its primary colour scheme delineating each of the sorting functions, was demolished in 2008. Kriemann has said that it is ‘an image of the industrial age, the age of post sorting machines for millions of letters, the information age . . . it revisits a modern dream and at the same time communicates an ambiguity as to whether this dream is past or futuristic’. Her work follows in the wake of a previous generation of German photographers such as Bernd and Hiller Becher and Candida Hoffer, who also used documentary-style photography to record and re-examine industrial, architectural and urban histories.