“Pulling Matter from Unknown Sources” is an ongoing, collaborative, experimental, research project. The project was triggered by a meeting with Messanh Amedegnato, a friend of the artist’s in Berlin who was consecrated as highpriest to Hèviesso (deity of thunder) in Agouegan, Aného,Togo, in 2014, and has since been known as Togbé Hounon Hounougbo Bahousou. Ter Heijne was interested in the connection between materiality, technology and spirit in the rituals surrounding Amedegnato’s inauguration and his subsequent practice in Togo and Berlin, which toggles locality and cultural significance. As part of her research in Berlin and Togo, Ter Heijne interviewed Togbé Hounon and priestess Mami Da Povi on the restitution of spiritual objects, the importance and meaning of various ingredients used in Hevièsso ceremonies, about oral histories, and on the subject of unisex and genderless deities. Since the project began, Ter Heijne’s home and studio have served as a place for a portable alter dedicated to Hèviesso. It allows ter Heijne to act as both a researcher and participant, further displacing traditional concepts of authorship that continue to dominate the Western art world. Since 2014 the artists works together with the UCTT (L’Union de Cultes Traditionelles du Togo) on various projects. In January 2020, a Mami Wata sculpture was restituted to the UCTT by the collector Matti Juhani Karila. Goals around the restitution are to activate the sculpture and to realise a culture center around it in Agouegan, Aného, Togo.
This project has been shown at
Mathilde ter Heijne and Norbert Witzgall, AFTER THE BUTCHER, Berlin, 2014
Springer nochmals, The Humboldt Lab Dahlem, Berlin, 2015