Maleficae

From Bonfires to Online Witchcraft

Budapest Gallery

1036 Budapest, Lajos utca 158.

21 June – 8 September 2024

Exhibing artists:

Lőrinc Borsos, Nadine Byrne, Vala T. Foltyn, Andrea Éva Győri, Katalin Kortmann Járay & Karina Mendreczky, Márton K. Takács & Soma Kazsimér, Shani Leseman, Ana Likar, Chloé Macary-Carney, Ginevra Petrozzi, Lucia Sekerková, Selma Selman, Zsuzsi Simon, Nóra Szabó, Noémi Szécsi, Jana Zatvarnická

Curators:

Flóra Gadó, Júlia Hermann, Dalma Eszter Kollár

Opening:

20 June 2024 (Thursday) 6 pm

Music performance:

Nyxa

Graphic design:

Réka Imre

Translation:

Dániel Sipos

The various crises of recent years have made a lot of people more open to spirituality anew, with alternative faiths and cultures offering an increasing number of people an escape from reality or a way to cope with the events that transpire around them. Spiritual practices are widespread among Generation Y and Z, from tarot reading through the healing powers of crystals and plants to astrology.

Anyone researching the historical past of these typically women’s practices is bound to come across the figure of the witch. Seen from today’s perspective (beyond the broom-and-witch-hat character of pop culture), the witch is seen as a representative of non-canonical forms of knowledge, of non-institutional practices of healing, and as a pioneer of feminism who refused conform to the social norms of her time and often provided supported to her fellow women.

Perhaps the richest source of information for researching the history of witchcraft is the documentation of witch hunts and witch trials that took place between the 15th and 18th centuries, which can be discovered in the work of several artists, including those who come to our country as part of Budapest Gallery’s Artist Exchange Program to explore the long history of persecutions that was characteristic of this region.

The exhibition Maleficae – From Bonfires to Online Witchcraft therefore starts with works that evoke the persecutions, the numerous trumped-up charges and death sentences, while also introducing healing practices connected to nature and objects with magical powers. After this section, the exhibition leads the visitor through the ever stronger presence of women’s spiritual communities: from contemporary witches through present-day occult practices to the spiritual world of segregated social groups. Finally, the circle is closed by magic pervading the online space and the interconnection of magic and technology. The title of the exhibition, which means ‘witches’ in Latin, together with the subtitle, is a reference to this centuries-long arc of history.

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