with Rosanna Graf, Neue Barmbeker Apotheke, Hamburg 2020

 The strengths of the maple include the love of freedom, idealism, ambition, versatility, willpower, self-confidence and the harmonious connection of opposites. The protective tree of all creative people, which promotes intuition and self-discovery as well as com- municative expression.

“Laura Franzmann and Rosanna Graf open up the Neue Barmbeker Apotheke by dealing with the past of the space. And healing actually seems necessary here: the backyard inhabited by rats is doomed, the house is to be demolished shortly. During the installation, a crow flies against the window pane and leaves the perfect imprint of its plumage. The maple tree in the backyard: diseased. Graf and Franzmann pay their last respects to the tree with festive adornment. Mugwort, a magical herb that is just as rampant in the back yard, is harvested and tied into large bouquets and placed in the exhibition. Salt dough objects populate the house and the tree. An audio track carries the inner workings of the tree into the courtyard and the former pharmacy. An ax is already chopping menacingly in the distance. The voices of invisible tree dwellers enjoy themselves unseen. The shower in the basement has a mushroom culture: The hope of new life after the demolition? "

salt dough

Recipe for a flying ointment: 19g henbane
10g mandrake (root) 20g Datura leafs 20g belladonna
10g johimbe
5g black poppy

Cook the whole thing with about 800ml water for 1 hour until the water has evaporated by half. Stir again and again! Then press through a cloth and stir in a liquid-binding cream, then bring to boil. Should be enough for ca. 250g of ointment. To fly smear small potion of ointment on broom or other tool suitable to be

ink on chiffon

Mugwort is one of the most important plants in folk magic. In Germany it‘s called „Mother of All Herbs“. Ancient Romans said it drove away demons and the belief has persisted into modern times. The plant‘s official name (Artemesia vulgaris) derives from the huntress goddess Artemis, and the plant is sacred to her. Greeks and Romans used it as an aphrodisiac charm which they would place under the bed before an erotic encounter they wanted to go well. For the same purpose a small twig can be worn at the chest or between the breasts. The herb has also the power to energize people
while walking or running, for that it should be put in your shoe before you set out for an important walk. An old German charm for safety against evil forces can be done at any time: make three bouquets of the herb and put them around your room.

Touching the private parts of the Sheela-na-gig brings fertility and blessings and wards off poverty. The goddess is ascribed a disaster-repelling power, which would explain her representation in holy places. The Celts are known to use replicas of the female genitals for protection. Showing the vulva is a gesture of defense against the forces of death and the underworld, as life is held up against death. Sheela calls on women to rediscover their most feminine body parts as the most natural thing there is in the world, becau-
se without them we would not all exist. In addition, they are the inexhaustible source of pleasure and joy. Her demeanor implies that she knows the secrets and origin of life.

In Medieval times, mandrake was considered a key ingredient in a multitude of witches’ flying ointment recipes as well as a primary component of magical potions and brews. According to the legend, when the root is dug up it screams and kills all who heard it. Directions for harvesting a mandrake root relatively safely goes as follows: “A furrow must be dug around the root until its lower part is exposed, then a dog is tied to it, after which the person tying the dog must get away. The dog the endeavors to follow him, and so easily pulls up the root, but dies suddenly instead of his master. After this, the root can be handles without fear.” (Josephus, circa. 37-100 AD.)