FERi’s last show before the summer will be the solo exhibition of Réka Lőrincz. On 27 June the gallery opens as an imaginary witchcraft store, the inventory of which will comprise Réka Lőrincz’s latest magic objects.
Réka Lőrincz: DIY Magic
June 27 – July 28, 2018
Text by Kata Oltai
Thinking dichotomously in general, European Judeo-Christian culture conceives of and represents women along the two poles of Mother and Whore, based on the late medieval topos of Saint and Witch [Silvia Bovenschen]. Fields of activity and spheres of knowledge specifically reserved for women in social life began to be eliminated at the end of the 15 th century. Their closeness to nature, their conscious use of natural forces in healing or body culture had elicited the label ‘dangerous for social status quo’ early on. Intuition as a counterpoint to reason was reinterpreted as a deadly, destructive force, life-threatening to man. Women partially or completely refusing to apply social norms and related expectations to themselves were declared witches and extracted from the body of society. A woman’s love of certain objects or domestic animals was declared suspicious, the look in her eyes [evil eye], but even her non-normative appearance could elicit punishment and setting an example.
Witchcraft is a preferred topic of contemporary cultural critique, as it provides an opportunity to reveal sexisms passed on by the Bible and mythology, to re-examine folk traditions, but also to include cross-sections of contemporary pop-culture.
The leitmotif of Réka Lőrincz’s site-specific exhibition is the broomstick.
These certainly figured in pagan rituals dating from the time of the Greeks. It was a symbol of Hecate, the Triple Goddess, whose priestess-midwife, after the birth of a child, swept the threshold of a house clean to purify it from evil spirits. In the middle ages, women propped the broomstick against the door or stuck it up the chimney to signal their absence from home. The broomstick of witches – might also have been a phallic symbol – was a gift from the Devil, and witches used hallucinogenic substances before sitting on it and taking to the skies. The balm aiding their flight was concocted from toxic alkaloids, which they used to anoint their bodies, giving them a sensation that they were flying to the site of Witches’ Sabbaths and far above the seas where they stirred up a storm.”
D.Canwell - J.Sutherland: Witches of the World
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and FERi, Budapest and Aron Weber