In memory of those persecuted in the seventeenth-century Finnmark Witchcraft Trials, the Steilneset Memorial rests along the jagged coastline of the Barents Sea in Vardø, Norway. Photographer Andrew Meredith has shared with us his photo series documenting this masterpiece created by a unique collaboration between the world-famous Swiss architect Peter Zumthor (Basel, 1943) and the influential contemporary artist Louise Bourgeois (Paris, 1911-2010).
Zumthor simply describes his collaboration with Bourgeois in an interview with ArtInfo as the following, “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].”
Continue reading to view the photographs and learn more about the Steilneset Memorial.
Zumthor’s pine scaffolding supports a suspended silk cocoon. Within the cocoon, visitors walk along a 400-foot long oak-floored corridor.
A hanging light bulb floats behind each of the 91 windows, illuminating them in memory of the 91 individuals who were convicted of sorcery and burnt at the stake. Each window is accompanied by a plaque that reveals the story of each individual.
Serving as Bourgeois’s last major installation, “The Damned, The Possessed and The Beloved” contains an endless flame burning upon a steel chair that lies within a hollow concrete cone.
Reflections of the flame bounce off of every surface as the chair is surrounded by a series of circular mirrors.
The installation is housed within a smoky, reflective glass structure that contrasts Zumthor’s long, wooden installation.
Andrew Meredith was originally commissioned by Icon Magazine.