Mathilde ter Heijne

Works * CV

Exhibitions and events:
Art Brussels 2015
Nascent States


Mathilde ter Heijne, Experimental Archeology: Ontology of the In Between (G), 2014
sculpture, wood fired ceramic, flight case, fluorescent tubes, 115x60x80cm, 164x80x100cm
installation view, Museum für Neue Kunst, Freiburg


Mathilde ter Heijne, Experimental Archeology: Ontology of the In Between (H), 2014
sculpture, wood fired ceramic, 260x60x55cm
installation view, Museum für Neue Kunst, Freiburg


Mathilde ter Heijne, Experimental Archeology: Ontology of the In Between (F), 2014
sculpture, wood fired ceramic, 160x55x30cm, 180x60x40cm


Mathilde ter Heijne, Experimental Archeology: Hedgehog shaped vase, 2006
sculpture, wood fired ceramic, cardboard box, glass plate, 5,5x9,8x 5,1cm, 31x45x27cm
installation view

This interactive art piece is an ongoing project. Each postcard shows a portrait of an unknown woman that lived between 1839 (the beginning of photography with Daguerreotypes) and the 1920s. On the message side is the biography of a known woman who was influential or extraordinary in her time. The pictures and biographies were collected from all over the world. The women whose biographies are known, all struggled for their individual goals in a world where men were predominant, where women didn’t have the right to vote or to own property, and only men were thought to be worth remembering. Most of these women have been forgotten and the many unknown women help us to remember the known. The postcards are to be taken for free in order to give people the opportunity to “take away” a female role model, or a little source of inspiration.


Mathilde ter Heijne, Woman To Go, 2005-ongoing
installation, installation with postcard display (postcards can be taken for free)

Reproductions of original cabinet card portraits of unknown women taken at the turn of the 19th century. The photographs show women from different geographic locations including Austria, Bulgaria, China, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Italy, Korea, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Thailand, Turkey, and the USA.


Mathilde ter Heijne, Unknown Women, 2010
print, baryt prints, all 170 cm high, width variable (approximately 130 cm)

This 30-meter-long fabric snake was produced together with 75 women from the handcraft market Kartal Kadın Ürünleri Pazarı (Women’s Product Market) in the Kartal district of Istanbul. Each of the women used her specific craftwork skills in order to design and make one part of the snake. The snake, considered in Christian culture to be a symbol of the inferiority of women, is transformed into a symbol of empowerment for the women of Kartal.


Mathilde ter Heijne, Communal Snake, 2010
sculpture, textile with diverse handwork techniques, aluminum, 300x20x20cm

This piece makes use of a Magical Reverse Candle Spell. Everyone can participate in this spell by buying and lighting a magical reverse candle. Reverse Candle Spell: The Reverse candle begins as solid red and is completely hand-dipped in a coating of black wax, so the only red you see peeks out of the top where the wick is. The black wax covering symbolizes “the coating, hold, or veil” of obstacles, challenges, jinxes, negative energy or actions. The red candle represents the person or thing that is imprisoned or made static by being encased in a black wax. This candle begins to immediately release the hold or block as the outer layer melts off and is covered by the dripping red wax from the inner core. There begins liberation and freedom from the “bondage” of the problem, person, or thing.


Mathilde ter Heijne, Send It Back To Where It Came From, 2010
sculpture, interactive sculpture with magical reverse candles, paraffin, metal, 150x125x125cm

The ponchos are meant to be worn as a singular piece, but also function as part of the installation Red, Black, Silver, and White. The fabric of the ponchos is unique and specially designed and woven for each piece. The ponchos are made of so-called double face fabric, which means that the fabric is in fact two fabrics (with different material and different designs) woven together into one. As a result, both sides of the ponchos can be worn on the outside. Each poncho is finished by hand work. The signs from the outside of the poncho’s refer to “the language of the Goddess”, about which the artist has made previous works (Experimental Archeology, 2007-2008).


Mathilde ter Heijne, Red, Black, Silver, and White, 2009
installation, installation with magical clothing, double face weaving, apalca baby wool, cotton, lurex, rolling racks, 220x140cm

This video shows fragments from two staged full moon sanctification rituals, for which two contemporary Goddess worship priestesses, Ricarda Sagehorn and Maggie Tapert, were invited. During these rituals the archeological artifact reconstructions for Experimental Archeology; Goddess Worship were wood-fired in an archaic oven; a hole in the ground.


Mathilde ter Heijne, Moon Rituals, 2007
video, single screen video, HDDV, 16:9, 6’

This video uses the special effect “Matte Painting.” The filmic illusion, carefully constructed by the use of this old-fashioned technique of painting on glass, is broken in the last scene. The painted fore-, and background become the setting for a theme that is eternal: the fight between “the poor” and “the rich.” The double role in this video was inspired by the so-called women’s movie (ref. A Woman’s View, How Hollywood Spoke to Women, 1930–1960, Jeanine Basinger, New York 1993), a genre that became popular in the USA in the depression years of the 1930s. Using two opposite female roles it thematised a paradox: how women could or maybe would like to be and how they were supposed to be. Designed to reinforce a traditional moral standard for women in a fast modernizing society, at the end of the movies the poor, married, serving woman was presented as the ideal role model over the rich, unmarried, independent woman. The song in the video is sung by the Appalachian folk hero and proto-feminist Sara Ogan Gunning (1910–1983) who wrote songs about poverty, starvation, the repression of labor by capital, as well as the tragedies of her own life to encourage the region’s coal miners to fight for better working and living conditions. In the few recordings that are known, she always sings a cappella.


Mathilde ter Heijne, No Depression in Heaven, 2006
video, single screen video, HDDV, 16:9, 4’

The artist fakes a suicide operation with the help of a professional special effects team. In the video, it is made clear the artist doesn’t die but a dummy explodes instead of her. Read by a female voice, a text about the high attendance of women in those kind of actions accompanies the film scenes. The text on suicide bombing was assembled from texts written from three politically different perspectives: the website, which is no longer accessible and showed mainly pictures and stories about martyrdom and jihad, a lecture at the university in Tel Aviv featured on, the website of the Institute of Counter Terrorism, Herzliya, and a more neutral source, a book from the German State Academy for Security Politics (Bunderakademie für Sicherheitspolitik). Unlike a common special effect scene, this one shows material that is normally cut out.


Mathilde ter Heijne, Suicide Bomb, 2000
video, single screen video, DV, 4:3, 5’

Mathilde is the name of the tragic heroine of Truffaut’s film La Femme d’à Côté, 1980, whose love for an older man ends in death. Also the leading female characters in Jean-Claude Briseau’s Noce Blanche, 1990, and Patrice Leconte’s Le Mari de la Coiffeuse, 1991, are named Mathilde and broken by their romantic attachments. Rather than falling victim to a disillusioning reality, the women find their escape in suicide. Mathilde ter Heijne takes these stories of self-sacrifice for an utopian ideal of love. Can fate be linked to a name? She mixes original sound extracts from the three films with video scenes in which she herself assumes the role of the tragic heroine. Using a special effects dummy, Mathilde ter Heijne depicts her death leap from the bridge and the struggle with her “alter ego.” The location for the short drama is Amsterdam where the artist used to live and work.


Mathilde ter Heijne, Mathilde, Mathilde, 1999
video, single screen video, DV, 4:3, 5’