No Depression in Heaven. The artist is showing recent installations as well as a new video piece. Like a red thread the theme of invisible power structures and of personal as well as political violence weaves through her work. She employs the special effect of Matte Painting on glass in order to show the construction behind the illusion and in order to combine painting and film. The installation Women to go invites the observer to take one of the array of 320 postcards for free.
No Depression in Heaven
We are pleased to present the third solo show of Mathilde ter Heijne at Arndt & Partnre, Berlin. The artist is showing recent installations as well as a new video piece. Like a red thread the theme of invisible power structures and of personal as well as political violence weaves through her work. Recurrently the artist depicts aspects of intimate, religious, and national conflict or (auto) aggressive reactions to the cultural and gender-specific allotment of roles.
The title of the installation Women to go (2005) invites the observer to take one of the array of 320 postcards for free. The photographs show unknown women from around the world from the period between 1800 and 1900. Written on the backs of the postcards are real biographies of women from the same period, but from different cultural backgrounds, who came to public attention for their exceptional lives or achievements - for example the first female university graduates, lawyers, artists, freedom fighters or scientists - but whose lives often had a tragic end and, with the passage of time, were forgotten. With her meticulous research Mathilde ter Heijne has pursued a critical examination of the genre of female biography and the way it functions. In formal terms this piece - as often occurs in the artist’s work - acts within that area of tension existing between fiction and documentation and the divergent interplay of image and text.
Mathilde ter Heijne continues to explore her concern with media constructs in the video essay No depression in heaven (2006). She employs the special effect of Matte Painting on glass in order to show the construction behind the illusion and in order to combine painting and film.
The models for the painted foregrounds and backgrounds on glass and canvas are the documentary photographs which Walker Evans made during the Depression years in the United States. The video narrative reflecting on the class conflict between rich and poor is accompanied by the melancholic song Oh Death by Sarah O. Cunning - folk singer and voice of the American workers’ movement of the period. The double female role in this video is also an ironic reference to the genre Women’s Film, which was successful in the 1930s in Hollywood cinemas. These films usually dealt with the moral conflict between women’s real and fantasised self-image and the resulting split of the female self into two paradoxical identities.
Another recent work by Mathilde ter Heijne - a life-size bronze of a female figure - ties in with her research on the subject of (self )sacrifice and its religious and cultural backgrounds, in which she deals with the myth of matriarchal pre-history.
Mathilde ter Heijne, born in Strasbourg in 1969, lives and works in Berlin. The Berlinische Galerie, Berlin (2006), the Gotz collection, Munich (2005), and the Migros Museum fur Gegenwartskunst, Zurich (2002), have dedicated comprehensive solo shows to her work. She has participated in numerous group shows at venues such as the Shanghai Art Biennial (2006), the P.S.1, New York (2005), and the Neue Galerie Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz, Austria (2003). Next year she will present her works in the exhibition Romantic Conceptualism at the American Federation of Arts in New York.
Image: Mathilde ter Heijne, No Depression in Heaven, 2006, DVD, 4 min, video still Courtesy Arndt & Partner Berlin / Zurich
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Natalija Martinovic - Gallery Manager Arndt & Partner phone +49 30 280 8123 firstname.lastname@example.org
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