Mein Schatz / My precious

Exhibition on post-mining landscapes and mentalities, on mining that takes place elsewhere, and on the relation between precious metals and digital culture.

Co-curated by Beauty of Oil’s Alexander Klose together with Daniel Herrmann, artistic director of Werkleitz.

From June 2nd to 18th on the compound of Wiederstedt Castle, where the early romantic poet Novalis spent his childhood, in Mansfeld county, a former mining region 40 km west of Halle (Saale).

Egill Sæbjörnsson, Troll Coins, 2023. Installation video @Alexclose

Nature does not want to be the exclusive possession of a single individual.
(Novalis, Heinrich von Ofterdingen)

What is My Precious today? And what does that still have to do with exquisite materials from underground? An exhibition project about local and global mining, its consequences as well as its people and natural conditions.

Mansfeld region 2023. The mining district in the triangle between Eisleben, Sandersleben was up until recently a place of hard work down in the mines and in the foundries. Now the region is seeking new added values and virtues. It is said that mining shapes people in a special way. Today, 30 years after the abrupt end, what about the afterlife and survival of the old values? What new values have been created?

Werkleitz has invited ten internationally working artists for the 2023 My Precious festival. With eight new works created specifically for the festival and two works adapted to the local conditions, they respond to the complex mélange of questions that arise when looking at the Mansfeld region today. A film room curated by Florian Wüst in the Inspektorhaus, as well as a dense program of artist talks, guided thematic walks, workshops for children, concerts, readings, and much more complete the festival offerings. Lena Reisner, whose exhibition Fossil experience could be seen in Berlin in 2022, was invited as a free curatorial researcher and came back with stories about women in the mines from Saint Barbara to actual workers.

Spray painted wooden Figurine of Saint Barbara at cellar entrance ©Falk Wenzel

The participating artists were, in alphabetical order: Ana Alenso, Mabe Bethônico, Karsten Bott, Viktor Brim, Felicitas Fäßler, Juliane Henrich, Stephanie Kiwitt, Barbara Marcel, Agnieszka Polska, and Egill Sæbjörnsson.

Here are installation views of the works, all photos © Falk Wenzel.

Mabe Bethonico, The Collective Dig. A Papertheatre on the Myths of Extraction, 2023
Barbara Marcel, Golden Tone, 2018-21
Felicitas Fässler, Outcrop, 2023
Karsten Bott, One Of Each – Kahlenberg/Bott, 2023
Agnieska Polska, The Demon’s Brain, 2018
Juliane Henrich, Dendrites, 2023
Stephanie Kiwitt, S. Anders leben, 2023
“Mein Schatz Kiste”/mediation station about women in the mines, realized in cooperation with Lena Reisner
Victor Brim, the cavity inside, 2023

A thorough description of all the artistic works and the complete program can be found at:

Here’s a selection of reviews in print, radio and television (all in German, though):

Monopol Magazin, „Tipps und Termine, Wohin am Wochenende?“ (2.6.23)

MDR Kultur Online, „Ausstellung, Filme und mehr: Werkleitz Festival befasst sich künstlerisch mit Bergbau-Folgen“ (1.6.23)

Radiofeature Deutschlandfunk Kultur „Fazit“, “Werkleitz Festival im Mansfelder Land: Auf der Suche nach ‘Mein Schatz’” von Niklas Ottersbach (4.6.23, 23:00) 

Radiofeature MDR Kultur, Das Radio, „Mein Schatz – Was das Werkleitz Festival in Wiederstedt 2023 zu bieten hat“ von Anne Sailer (2.6.23, 6:00) 

Short feature on the festival on MDR Artour, (8.6.2023). Here is the link to the ARD-Mediathek. 

Conversation with Alexander Klose at “Radiozwitschern. Uniradio Halle” (9.6.23, 14:00) on free radio Corax, Halle.

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