Foam 3h: Steffi Reimers - Guilty Grounds
Press release | Amsterdam, November 2023
Foam 3h presents the first solo exhibition of recently graduated Dutch photographer Steffi Reimers, the 7th recipient of the Florentine Riem Vis Grant. For the conceptual photo project Guilty Grounds, she travelled to Calabria, southern Italy, to explore the dark side of Calabrian history and the origins and kidnapping practices of the world's most powerful criminal organisation, the 'Ndrangheta.
Unsolved – Guilty Grounds, 2023
© Steffi Reimers
Gunshot punctures – Guilty Grounds, 2023
© Steffi Reimers
Aspromonte – Guilty Grounds, 2023
© Steffi Reimers
Reimers uses the concept of "Guilty Landscapes" to convey the complexity of this tragic history. She reveals the landscapes of Aspromonte National Park as silent witnesses to the pervasive influence of the 'Ndrangheta. Landscapes that were once untouched and peaceful now resonate with memories of events that have subtly left their mark.
This project highlights its unique use of forensic light, which reveals traces of atrocities and confronts the viewer with the uncomfortable truth. The addition of a 'prayer card' to the exhibition introduces a duality and highlights the role of faith and crime in the region. Although not the central theme, the prayer card serves to highlight the delicate balance between these two aspects and offers a narrative that invites deeper contemplation.
In a region where the mafia and its activities are often denied, Guilty Grounds is a powerful reminder of a shocking part of Italian history, confronting the viewer with the uncomfortable truth. In this project, Reimers' choice to exclude human figures from her images is evident, which emphasises the landscapes all the more as both 'guilty' and 'testifying' entities. Each image bears silent witness to the events in Calabria and invites the viewer to join in and make their own interpretations.
About the artist
Steffi Reimers (NL, 1995) completed an internship with documentary photographer Niels Stomps in 2020. In 2021, she obtained her bachelor's degree in photography from the Hogeschool voor Toegepaste Fotografie in Amsterdam. In the same year, she exhibited at the Nederlands Fotomuseum Rotterdam, and in 2022 she was one of the GUP New Dutch Photography Talents. In 2022, she published the book Aftermath for which she spent two months in Srebenica, impressively portraying the aftermath of the Yugoslavian civil war. Transience, trauma and loss are recurring themes in much of her work. Besides her free work, she has also been employed by the Netherlands Forensic Institute as a medical-forensic photographer since 2022. Here she documents forensic investigations and works with a specialised team to give a voice to victims of violence who can no longer express themselves.
Florentine Riem Vis Grant
Steffi Reimers is the seventh recipient of the Florentine Riem Vis Grant. The grant was established in memory of Florentine Riem Vis (1959-2016) and is awarded annually to enable a young artist to further develop their artistic career. Previous recipients include Bebe Blanco Agterberg (2022), Karolina Wojtas (2021), Gilleam Trapenberg (2020), Solène Gün (2019), Rebecca Sampson (2018) and Stefanie Moshammer (2016/17).
Foam 3h: Steffie Reimers - Guilty Grounds can be seen from 1 December 2023 – 3 March 2024 at Foam. Open daily 10.00 - 18.00 hrs, Thurs/Fri 10.00 - 21.00 hrs.
1017 DS Amsterdam
+ 31 (0)20 5516500
Note to editors
This exhibition is made possible with the support of the Van Bijlevelt Foundation, the Leeuwensteinstichting, the Mondriaan Fund and Kleurgamma Fine-Art Photolab.
Foam is supported by the VriendenLoterij, Foam Members, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, the VandenEnde Foundation and the City of Amsterdam.