Virginie Rebetez: Malleus Maleficarum
Fribourg Photographic Survey, 2018
The Department of Culture of the canton of Fribourg created the Fribourg photographic survey in 1996. Through a competition, a photographer is entrusted with carrying out a survey on a documented subject. The survey then becomes the focus of an exhibition and, most often, a publication. It is held at the Cantonal and University Library. The survey, which takes place every two years, aims to encourage artistic creation and to establish a contemporary photographic heritage devoted to the canton.
The 2018 survey was assigned to Virginie Rebetez. In this eleventh installment, the artist takes on a photographic investigation of mediums and healers, common in that catholic region and well rooted in the culture, learning about their identity and practice, as she places them in a broader historical context of witch hunting.
“Malleus Maleficarum is perhaps Rebetez’s most ambitious and daring effort to explore the space between visible and invisible, to reimagine and reconsider the story in a fresh way. The past is brought in through the figure of Claude Bergier who was accused of witchcrafting and burnt at the stake in 1628, in Fribourg. Rebetez brings back Bergier by inquiring mediums about him, building then bridges between people and locations, separated by time and space. Malleus Maleficarum is unexpectedly personal and intimate book, reflecting on life and embracing the unknown, and at once boldly pushing the abilities of photographic language to represent the reality and beyond.” Olga Yatskevich