More info on Claudia’s exhibition at Galeria Siboney here
Claudia Terstappen studied sculpture with architecture and photography at the Academy of Art in Düsseldorf, Germany. Although she moves freely between materials, technologies and media to create large-scale works and installations, her photographs taken over the last 35 years form an integral part of her oeuvre.
Over many years she has investigated the past, the present, and changes related to place and culture, resulting in series of photographic works on ‘belief systems’, ‘sacred places’ and ‘culture and identity’. Her visual language has been intensely shaped by the natural environment. Her travels to Brazil, Colombia, Canada, Japan, the United States (Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah), Iceland and Spain have been an important source of inspiration for her work. These destinations were chosen for their traces of ancient and modern belief systems, mythical stories, sacred landscapes and spiritual thinking.
In 2002 her artwork took her to Australia. After travelling through New South Wales, Central Australia and Queensland, she spent many months in remote areas of the Northern Territory, such as Kakadu and Arnhem land. The radical changes in the landscape during the Dry and Wet seasons and her growing interest in wildlife led her to return from Europe many times. In 2004 she moved to Australia and has since experienced unprecedented droughts, floods and heatwaves, with entire communities wiped out by bushfires. These extreme circumstances made her see her landscape photographs from another perspective: while some cultures treasure nature for its spiritual values, others only focus on the profit gained from its resources.
As a result, her photographs have not only become a strong metaphor for our threatened planet, but have also become a measure of the ‘disappearing worlds’, showing an aesthetic, perhaps romantic beauty that is at their point of departure.
For me it is important to establish the values associated with nature through a ‘historical’ vision. Therefore, I adapt the romantic concept of solitude in my images with a composition that makes the photographer the only witness of the landscape. I want to immerse myself in the generative forces of nature, powers, beliefs and emotions to reflect and interpret the outside world and to show the dependencies between the human race and the natural environment. An environment that was once feared and revered, then exploited and now urgently needs to be protected and restored, as nature is something that money cannot buy.
Claudia Terstappen has lived and worked in Düsseldorf, London, New York, Hong Kong and Barcelona. She moved to Australia at the end of 2004. She has exhibited internationally since the 1980s. Her work is represented in major collections in the United States, Australia, Germany, Spain, France, Italy and Japan.