The Arty Semite

Tel Aviv Artist Wins Inaugural Photography Prize

By Akin Ajayi

  • Print
  • Share Share
Michael Heiman

Earlier this month, the Israel Museum and the Shpilman Art and Culture Foundation awarded the first Shpilman International Prize for Excellence in Photography to Michal Heiman, recognizing her not only as a pre-eminent photographer, but also as an artist whose work consistently tests the boundaries between visual art and other means of human expression.

Heiman is perhaps best known for the “Michal Heiman Test (MHT)” — a work arranged along the lines of the Thematic Apperception Test, a psychological diagnostic tool — and “Attacks on Linking,” a series of photographs and videos that draws inspiration from the pioneering work of the British psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion.

The $40,000 biannual prize was initiated to encourage international research projects, and to broaden the range of photographic investigations that integrate theoretical and practical issues. The jury, which included Peter Galassi, chief curator of photography at MoMA, selected Heiman’s submission from a pool of 35 finalists from nine countries.

The announcement of the award cited Heiman’s work as “innovative and cross disciplinary…grounded in photography, but also [touching] upon psychology, sociology, and perception, with a solid theoretical basis and background.”

Born in 1954 and based in Tel Aviv, Heiman has accumulated over more than three decades a significant body of work incorporating photography, video and “performance” lectures. Enigmatic, occasionally playful, yet also frequently subversive, her work is preoccupied with political and gender-related themes and is strongly influenced by psychoanalytic theory. Her particular interest is in using art as a tool to deconstruct existing thought patterns, using the space thus created to prompt new ways of contemplating the world.

Heiman, who teaches at Tel Aviv University, the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, and elsewhere, proposes to use the award to study the creators of visual psychological tests, and to investigate aspects of photography — including portraiture, stereoscope and World War I documentary imagery — that influenced and were influenced by such tests. Subsequently, she will build two test boxes, “‘The Unthinkable I’ — For the People of the 21st Century,” and “‘The Unthinkable II’ — The Archive of Simultaneous Movement,” which will be presented and “performed” in exhibition.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Wilfred Bion, Shpilman International Prize for Excellence in Photography, Shpilman Art and Culture Foundation, MoMA, Peter Galassi, Michael Heiman, Israel Museum

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.