ARTCO & LEPI ART
LEPI Studio at Spreestudios
Köpenicker Chaussee 4
In many communities all over the world, the belief in witches is still part of everyday life. For women in particular this often means a dangerous stigma exposing them to cruel and arbitrary violence. The current missio-Human Rights Study shows that those affected are under considerable risk in 41 countries around the world.
The situation is different in Romania. Several thousand women there practice the profession of a "witch". They provide solutions for emotional and material problems, prescribe love potions and cast curses. Allegedly, more than a third of Romanians take advantage of this form of life counselling. The Orthodox Church tolerates the practices, there is scientific research into this social phenomenon and there is a high market demand, also at an international level. Witchcraft enables women here to make a living, some even to prosper.
The photographs by Johanna-Maria Fritz and Ann-Christine Woehrl, which are presented in Berlin in what is the first cooperation between ARTCO and LEPI ART, find themselves in this apparent confrontation of two very different situations
With "Daughters of Magic", ARTCO presents works by Johanna-Maria Fritz in Berlin for the first time. The photographer visited Romania's most powerful witch, Mihaela Minca, in Bucharest a total of seven times. During those visits the photographer witnessed mysterious practices that have probably been passed on in magic dynasties for generations. The poetic pictures by Johanna Maria Fritz show self-confident, strong women, leaving folkloric clichés behind.
The publisher of the monograph "Witches in Exile", Anja Pinter-Rawe, presents the first position of LEPI ART with the eponymous exhibition, thus continuing the activities of her former gallery Pinter & Milch. With "Witches in Exile", photographer Ann-Christine Woehrl has created a series of sensitive portraits of women from Ghana who have been stigmatized as witches. The UN has strongly drawn attention to the suffering caused by witch hunts in northern Ghana. Women who survive such hunts may find refuge in so-called witch camps. Woehrl travelled out there, to trace the history of these women and to give them a face beyond the stigma of being a witch. "Witches in Exile" supports the aid project "Witch-hunt Victims Empowerment Project" (WHVEP) with donations from the proceeds of the sale of the book and artwork at the exhibitions.
The exhibition "Witch Belief: Witches in Exile & Daughters of Magic" aims to create awareness through the presentation of the different situations and to illustrate the still highly relevant, dangerous and powerful topic of witchcraft.