"The Witches of Finnmark Memorial"

"there is a line, which is mine, and a dot, which is hers... "

"The Witches of Finnmark Memorial" is dedicated to the victims of a 17th century witch hunt in Vardo. The two building monument is a collaboration between the artist Louise Bourgeois and the architect Peter Zumthor.

"Between 1598 and 1692,135 people were indicted and 91 executed as witches in Finnmark, the vast majority in Vardø. Many of these were of Sami ancestry. The monument is erected at the place where the burning of witches originally happened, Steilneset in Vardø.

Inside a glass cube designed by Zumthor, Bourgeois's sculpture "The Damned, The Possessed and The Beloved" (2007-2010), is made up of a flaming chair surrounded by a ring of seven oval mirrors. Each distorted mirror reflects the flame differently, symbolizing the various perceptions of reality that one person has of the behavior and values of another. A second building by Zumthor, made of wood and fabric and 125 meters long, has one illuminated window for each of the victims burnt at the stake.

Peter Zumthor in an interview with ArtInfo described his unique collaboration with Louise Bourgeois remarking, "I had my idea, I sent it to her, she liked it, and she came up with her idea, reacted to my idea, then I offered to abandon my idea and to do only hers, and she said, 'No, please stay.'

So, the result is really about two things - there is a line, which is mine, and a dot, which is hers... Louise's installation is more about the burning and the aggression, and my installation is more about the life and the emotions [of the victims]."

(text via Cheim and Read)


"Memorial to the 91 persons convicted of sorcery and burnt at the stake in Finnmark County. Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010) designed the artwork; she is recognized as one of the most influential artists of the contemporary era. This was her last major installation. The site is a cooperation between the artist and the architect Peter Zumthor. He contributed the design of the building that houses the artwork, as well as an information centre.The site is to be opened 23 June 2011."

(photos bi Jivri Havran)

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