Fotomonday: Malleus Maleficarum by Virginie Rebetez

With “Fotomonday“, each week we showcase the work of women photographers from around the world.

Virginie Rebetez takes on a photographic investigation of mediums and healers, common in the catholic region of Fribourg and well rooted in the culture, learning about their identity and practice, as she places them in a broader historical context of witch hunting.

Book published by BCU Fribourg & Meta/Books, Amsterdam 2018

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

Graduated, in 2005, from the Photography School of Vevey (CH) and from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie (NL), in 2008, Virginie Rebetez lives and works, since 2012, in Lausanne (CH).
All her projects are closely connected to each other and focus on the same interests and research about absence, loss, traces, identity and death. She is interested in the space created by absence and uses Photography to create physicality to what is not there anymore, to give form to what doesn’t have a body. She makes the absence visible.

Her work is shown regularly in museums, galleries and festivals and is published in different cultural magazines as well as photographic reviews.

Virginie Rebetez has received numerous awards from art institutions; L’Enquête photographique fribourgeoise (CH, 2018), La Fondation Leenaards (CH, 2014), Prix Leica 29th Festival of Photography and Fashion Hyères (F, 2014), Swiss Design Awards (CH, 2014), Prix Focale_Ville de Nyon (CH, 2013).

Her work Out of the blueis currently shown at QUAD Gallery (Format Festival, Derby UK) in the show ‘Mutable/Multiple’, curated by Tim Clark and Louise Fedotov-Clements, among the works of Max Pinckers, Anne Golaz, Stefanie Moshammer, Edgar Martins and Amani Willett. (March 15 – June 9 2019).

Malleus Maleficarum, selected for the Swiss Design Awards 2019 (Basel, CH) will be shown during Art Basel in June 2019. The project will also be presented during the first edition of the Festival ‘Imago Lisboa’, in Lisbon (PT), in October.

Rebetez’s work is part of the Fotostiftung Schweiz in Winterthur (CH), the city of Nyon (CH), as well as of several private collections.

See more of her work:


All images and text © Virginie Rebetez