Michal Heiman | Ap – Artist Proof, Asylum (The Dress, 1855-2017)

A New Community of Women – 1855-2017.


For over three decades, Heiman has been studying neglected histories and its visual aspects, focusing on the history of women. Her exhibition AP – Artist Proof, Asylum (The Dress, 1855-2017) at the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art (Curator: Aya Lurie), offers a new and radical field for action and dialogue with the museum visitors includes an installation, performance, video, sound, photographs, floor work, objects, documents, and archival display.


In 2012, Heiman came across the book The Face of Madness (1976), and had a crucial encounter with a photograph – Plate 34. The young woman that stared at her from Plate 34 – a photograph taken circa 1855 by Dr. Diamond (1809-1886), a British psychiatrist at the Springfield Hospital (formerly Surrey County Lunatic Asylum) – looked to her exactly like her adolescent self. This image led her to undertake a project aims to revisit the women photographed in the 1850s, seeks to envision the political, cultural, gendered, and psychic conditions of possibility of a “return.” Her first act was to sew herself a similar plaid dress as a principal strategy for gaining access to the asylum. She began taking multiple portraits (still photographs and videos), mostly of women, including herself, as well as some men and some who bend gender categories, all wearing this dress, her radical proposal is to create a new community comprised of dozens of women – asylum-seekers, activists, artists, and others – from 1855 to 2017.


Photography: Meidad Suchowolski