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The coal market
HIDDEN PLACES & IDENTITIES
Parallel Events Manifesta9
curated by Michela Sacchetto & Francesca Berardi
Installation : wood, fabric, coal mold in polyester resin, mixed media
Performance with sound
during the market time
The performance happens on Saturday morning at the heart of the Vennerstraat market. Like a stall, besides the vegetables, dresses and other goods hosts the witch Putheks tells her story to anyone who will listen. Like market gardeners, she incites passers-by to buy their product: pieces of precious magic coals.
In 1725, a poor illegitimate girl born in Eksel, named Catheleyn Cuypers or Leyn Weckx, was accused of arson. She was tried for witchcraft and sentenced to burn at the stake. But during the journey towards the place of execution, she managed to escape and mysteriously disappeared into a hole. From that escape originates her name, the Putheks, the witch of the hole. For centuries, people held her responsible for all that was unexplained. When the mines were established in Genk in the early 20th century, the Putheks started a new life. People use to say that she lived in the mine galleries and persecuted the miners in their work.