Maja Daniels, Fire, 2022
Maja Daniels: Gertrud
Mar 15 – May 11, 2024
Nicola Von Senger
Zürich, Switzerland

The photographer and filmmaker Maja Daniels likes to play with the boundaries between documentary and fiction. Referring to an old story about a girl accused of witchcraft in a village in Dalecarlia, Sweden, she combines past and present, myth and reality and challenges the course of history. In 1667, on a cold autumn day in Älvdalen in the region of Dalecarlia in Sweden, a twelve-year-old girl called Gertrud Svensdotter was accused of witchcraft. Her supposed crime was to have walked on water using supernatural powers. The episode marked the beginning of the Swedish witch- hunts, a period of mass hysteria and terror that lasted eight years and caused the deaths of almost 300 people. In Sweden as in the rest of Europe, witch trials marked the end of feudal society and ushered in modernity and subsequently the capitalist era. In the new fear-ridden world order, the role of women and the perception of nature changed radically: women became more restricted in their freedom (they were confined to the traditional ideas of the nuclear family: to stay indoors and have children), and the forest stopped being a place of myth and became a natural resource.

Maja Daniels spent a lot of her youth in Älvdalen and would listen to stories told by her grandmother. The exhibition Gertrud brings the story of the little girl who walked on water into the present, allowing the world in which Gertrud lived to be reborn according to different laws. In this new world, the succession of events is not yet determined. The photographer examines the way in which dominant ideologies and a culture of silence in Sweden have shaped a particular understanding of the world.

For Maja Daniels, photography and film are magical spaces that defy knowledge, meld past and future, and redefine the boundaries of the world as we know it. One might argue that photography, like myths, is based on a dangerous form of deception. Is magic not ultimately the promise of something in exchange for nothing? This is perhaps its most redemptive power: not everything must, nor can, be measured and explained.

Most of her work is the result of performances in natural environments, where Maja Daniels constructs her own rituals and creates new mythologies. Her approach reflects a surrealistic desire to re-enchant the world. Here, the forest, which is threatened by climate change, becomes more than a mere natural resource. It is a place of memory, language, history, culture, mysticism and imagination. Perhaps magic is not an activity but an entire way of thinking.

  • Mophradat Open Call / Orbitals
    Deadline Jun 15, 2024

    Orbitals is a program that takes four curators and arts researchers to an international location to learn about a different artistic context in the Global South and share this knowledge with their communities. During the eight-day guided research trip, the participants, along with members of Mophradat’s team, meet and share experiences with peers from the art scenes they are visiting. (more…)

  • Mary Heilmann / Daydream Nation
    May 2 – Jul 26, 2024
    Hauser & Wirth
    New York, USA

    “A body of work starts by daydreaming…” –Mary Heilmann

    On May 2nd, we will open ‘Daydream Nation’ at its 22nd Street gallery, exploring Mary Heilmann’s ongoing interest in drawing as a form of transcribing memory. Curated by artist Gary Simmons, Heilmann’s friend and former student and colleague at New York’s School of Visual Arts, the exhibition celebrates her talent for distilling complex images and ideas into deceptively simple geometric forms and abstract gestural marks. (more…)

  • UNIQUE. Beyond Photography
    Apr 19 – Jun 8, 2024
    Brussels, Belgium

    In the UNIQUE exhibition, we explore 21 projects by artists, half of whom are under 40 and based in Belgium. What unites them is the creative gesture. It’s no longer just the photographic perspective, but the manual labor that is celebrated here. Establishing this physical connection with the artwork results in the creation of unique pieces that defy the norms of analog photography and oppose the reproducibility of digital photography. (more…)

  • How Not to Be Seen
    May 10 – Sep 8, 2024
    Remai Modern
    Saskatoon, Canada

    We may not always be aware of it, but we live in an era of continuous scrutiny. Modern technology captures, distributes, and analyzes images and data at ever-increasing rates. We are all subjects of tracking, not only by cameras employed purportedly as a deterrent for crime but also by digital tools used by corporations and governments alike to monitor and evaluate our actions, needs, and desires. (more…)

  • Patrick Weldé: Freiheit
    Goswell Road

    On the occasion of our exhibition with Weldé at CFAlive Milan L’AMOUR TOUJOURS, we publish a new edition of the previously sold-out book that we produced with Weldé in 2017, FREIHEIT. All of the photographs in FREIHEIT were taken by Weldé on disposable cameras between 2011-2015. They show a tender side to the artist and his friend circle, and the purest form of trust. (more…)