This autumn’s major exhibition at Kunsthal Charlottenborg focuses on the figure of the witch and the witchcraft trials in the Nordic region from the 16th-18th century. Through the lens of contemporary art, the exhibition examines this under-explored history of violence and encourages reflection on the politics of memory and social persecution in the present.
The exhibition will present several new commissions from internationally-renowned artists who, through research and dialogues with leading scholars, dive into the social, gendered, and geopolitical layers of the witchcraft trials. Along with existent artworks and original archival material from the period, the exhibition investigates how specific threads of the Nordic witch hunts, particularly relating to identity, cartography, climate, and systems of power, reverberate today. From the impact of Danish colonialism to the multifaceted violences of misogyny, the exhibition proposes a present haunted by persecutions of the past – but one that is also occupied by new critical voices of opposition.
The participating artists explore discriminatory fear and hatred as it spreads from both the bottom up and the top down—between neighbors onto larger communities and from governments to other political institutions, questioning how such narratives are often written out of history. At a time of global unrest, as the politics of commemoration are in question, Witch Hunt suggests the need to revisit seemingly distant histories and proposes new imaginaries for remembering and representation.
Curated by Alison Karasyk and Jeppe Ugelvig
Pia Arke, La Vaughn Belle, Anna Betbeze, Louise Bourgeois, Youmna Chlala, Keviselie (Hans Ragnar Mathisen), Sidsel Meineche Hansen and Reba Maybury, Virginia Lee Montgomery, Sandra Mujinga, Rasmus Myrup, New Noveta, Carol Rama, Máret Ánne Sara, Aviva Silverman, Angela Su, Carmen Winant, Cecilia Vicuña
The exhibition is generously supported by 15. Juni Fonden, Aage and Johanne Louis-Hansens Fond, Axel Muusfeldts Fond, Grosserer L. F. Foghts Fond, Kern-Jespersen Fonden, Knud Højgaards Fond, Konsul George Jorck and wife Emma Jorck’s Fond, Nordisk Kulturfond and William Demant Fonden. Kunsthal Charlottenborg would like to give a special thank you to Michael Fornitz, who has made his unique archive of historical material available.