My ruin series shows abandoned slaughterhouses and stables with so called farm animals walking freely in front of them. This series belong to a bigger series called Utopia, which is showing different perspectives of a world in which animal exploitation belongs to the past and animal liberation has become reality. Ruin VI specifically shows a former production place for dairy products of the German dairy company Müller. The big cow in front of the ruin is Colorida, a former diary cow that is now living at farm animal sanctuary Hof Butenland in the north of Germany. A calf is walking beside her, to point out that no industry is longer separate the animal families and friendships, as it is the brutal reality of today’s animal farming.
Hartmut Kiewert was born 1980 in the city of Koblenz/Germany. From an early age on, the contradictions of the human-animal-relationship were one of the first things he felt were wrong in human society. However, he was told by his parents that eating animals was natural and necessary for health reasons. Therefore, only very much later did he come to the point to successively give up eating or using products of animal exploitation. This started when he moved to his first own flat and turned vegetarian in the year 2000.
Always loving to draw – plus seeing how destructive work for the sake of profit is – Hartmut did not want to spend his life on some regular 9 to 5 job. So he decided to do what he loved most and which seemed to bring as much free space and time as possible under capitalistic circumstances. In 2003 he took up his studies of fine art at Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design at Halle (Saale)/Germany. He received his diploma with honors in 2010.
Being influenced by the ideas of anarchism and critical theory, he was always doing political stuff besides his studies. This included amongst others information seminars on alternatives to capitalism and structures of hierarchy and dominion as well as direct actions against GMO, militarism, fascism and atomic energy.
Wanting to combine his artwork and his political activity, Hartmut began to dedicate his paintings and drawings to the critical reflection on human-animal-relationship in 2008. His aim was – and still is – to break through the suppression of the violent aspects of this relationship and raise awareness for the interests of non human animals. To point out the interconnection between the structure of oppression of animals/nature and oppression of humans is important to him. The start of focusing on this was also the point when he eventually turned strictly vegan.
In the last few years Hartmut’s work was shown in several solo and group exhibitions around Germany, for instance in Hamburg, Berlin, Dortmund and Leipzig. Beside regular exhibitions in art-spaces he also contributes artwork to vegan events like Vegan Street Day. For this purpose he envolved the technique of painting on pe-tarp, which is weatherproof and thus can be installed outdoors as well. Hartmut also showed his paintings on conferences like the International Animal Rights Conference in Luxembourg at the Critical Animal Studies Conference in Prague.
In 2012, Compassion Media published his book mensch_tier (human_animal), featuring his art – and theoretical work (for now only available in German language).
In fall a new book with his work titled ANIMAL UTOPIA – perspectives of a new human animal relationship will be published at the same publishing house. This time the texts in the book will be in German and English. A crowd funding campaign for financing the production of this book will be launched soon.
He lives and works in Leipzig/Germany. Visit his website here.