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!
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
  • "Americans are much more focused on the long term and on the end goal which is ending the violence, and peace. It’s a matter of zooming out rather than debating the day to day.”
  • "I feel great sorrow about the fact that you decided to return the honor and recognition that you so greatly deserve." Rivka Ben-Pazi, who got Dutchman Henk Zanoli recognized as a "Righteous Gentile," has written him an open letter.
  • Is there a right way to criticize Israel?
  • 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.