The four years that Donald Trump has spent in the White House have amounted to one prolonged witch hunt. At least that’s what future generations may believe if they read his Twitter feed as an accurate representation of history. He has tweeted about mistreatment in those terms several hundred times, and even referenced witch hunting in a letter sent to Nancy Pelosi during the impeachment hearings. Trump may therefore be disappointed to learn that Witch Hunt, a new exhibition at the Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Denmark, isn’t about him.
At least Trump’s presidency is not the official topic of the exhibit. The Kunsthal instead examines the little-known history of witch hunting in Denmark under King Christian IV, whose paranoia about black magic rivaled Trump’s suspicions about the deep state. Initiated by an ordinance that Christian passed against “witches and their accomplices” in 1617, witch hunting legitimized gossip as a basis for persecution. Over the next several decades, approximately one thousand Danish citizens – primarily women living at the margins of society – were executed on charges of collusion with the devil. Many were burned at the stake.