The Witches’ Institution (W.I.) is an exhibition by artist Emily Hesse, imagined and developed in collaboration with organiser and writer Andrea Phillips.
Through a series of experimental works, discussions and experiences, the exhibition is envisioned as an exercise in world building, aiming to imagine what a cultural institution run by witches could be.
Clay acts as a key material for The W.I. As well as working with clay as both Earth matter and craft material, Hesse sees her sculptural practice as an expanded shaping of thoughts, histories and alternative futures. She uses the concept of magical materialism to produce objects, installations, diagrams and stories.
Hesse’s work is deeply rooted in radical narratives of the North Yorkshire landscape and the way it has been occupied through processes of oppression and possessive violence, where people, animals and objects stand accused of and marked by violence in the struggle for freedom (that of our bodies, our intellects, our ways of life, our genders).
Bringing together Hesse’s sculpture, curatorial practice and PhD research at the Belfast School of Art, Ulster University, The W.I. also includes work by artists Ana Mendieta and The Otolith Group.
Emily Hesse: The Witches’ Institution (W.I.) is part of The Tetley Jerwood Commissions programme, supported by Jerwood Arts’ Development Programme Fund