CLAUDIA TERSTAPPEN, Museum DKM Duisburg, Germany 

May 11, 2022

In the current exhibition Beauty and Elemental Forces of Nature. Claudia TerstappenMuseum DKM presents a selection of nature photographs by artist Claudia Terstappen (DE, 1959). The black-and-white photographs from the 1990s and early 2000s present a selection from the extensive collection holdings that Claudia Terstappen’s oeuvre has occupied in the DKM Collection since the 1980s.

Exhibition dates: 26.03.2022 – 25.09.2022

Claudia Terstappen is active in many art disciplines: Photography, video art, sculpture, drawing, woodcut as well as installation. In all these genres, she has remained faithful to the theme of landscape for decades, but it is not only nature, but in particular the fusion of nature and culture that she explores in her work. She surrenders to natural forces in order to be able to reflect and interpret the outside world, thus demonstrating the interdependence between being human and the natural environment. Landscape photographs have become a benchmark for disappearing worlds, showing an aesthetic as well as romantic beauty, revealing their vulnerability. Particularly noteworthy for this is the series of bushfires, taken in Australia in the early 2000s, which underscores the destruction of the environment caused by human activity.

However, the artist not only tracks down and depicts real places, but she also creates fictional places. The written panel of the installation “Mountain” (1992), consisting of a photograph and a wooden bench, gives a (pseudo)scientific description of a mountain unknown to us and, through its connection to a cultural site, further increases its mystification. Places thus become cultural actors, reflecting the values associated with them in their respective cultural contexts. At the same time, it explains how the spiritual world is visualized and documented. Claudia Terstappen searches for magic in our environment, in the knowledge of our past or of peoples unknown to us, and allows us to experience the old in a new light.

Claudia Terstappen (DE, 1959) lives and works in Barcelona, ES, and Melbourne, AUS. She studied German language and literature and philosophy at Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf, Germany, and sculpture and photography at the State Academy of Art in Düsseldorf with Prof. Erich Reusch. Over many years her artistic work has focused on the interrelationship between religion, superstition and science in relation to place, culture and time. The values associated with nature, particularly those of indigenous cultures, have led her to explore the interdependence between humans and the natural world. Her work is represented in numerous public and private collections in Australia, Spain, Germany, France, and the United States. The DKM Collection’s holdings include various groups of works by Claudia Terstappen, who has been closely associated with the collectors since the 1980s.

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