Mathilde ter Heijne

b. 1969, Strasbourg, France. Lives and works in Berlin, Germany and New York, USA


Mathilde ter Heijne
Mathilde ter Heijne, Woman to Go, 2005




In her sculptures, photographs, videos and installations, Mathilde ter Heijne creates interfaces between public and private narratives. A major part of her practice involves life-size waxwork doppelgangers made from casts of the artist's own face and hands. Onto these doubles, a wide range of socio-political conflicts and imaginary identities are projected, often thematically concerned with power relationships, martyrdom, victimization and violence. ter Heijne's most urgent theme is women's role in society in the past, present and future. By using her own person, ter Hejne is able to relate to difficult cultural issues via intimacy and thus allows herself to question accepted issues of identity.

A related interest in how alternative narratives can travel in time and emerge in new spaces comes across in Ter Heijne's work Woman to Go (2005). The visitor may leave the exhibit with one or more of180 black and white postcards featuring photographs of anonymous women born in the 19th Century. On the back are short and extraordinary biographies of women with great achievements from the same period, yet image and text are mismatched. ter Heijne alludes to how hundreds of years of patriarchal culture has dominated womens' lives and made them absent from history. By shuffling emancipated women with anonymous, she asks why the anonymous women were not the ones to win fame and why the emancipated women's lives are not documented in the historical canon.