Neue Mythen by Reinhold Misselbeck (text translated from German)

Christine Webster’s large-format works deal with myths and traditions that have defined the image of women and the relationship of the sexes throughout history. By setting picture and word ambiguously opposite each other, she alludes to handed-down meanings while at the same time questioning them in order to suggest new meanings.

In so doing, she consciously establishes references to the tradition Tableau Vivant in Victorian salons. She herself arrived at these scenes after studying theatre and began to take pictures of herself and her friends. In her current work she deliberately plays with the idea of a voyeuristic look and erotic imagery in order to arouse interest and simultaneously to pose a critical challenge.

Christine Webster is an artist who takes a feminist stand in her view of the relationship between the sexes. Despite the complexity of its content, Webster’s work concentrates on formal execution and perception, limiting itself to what is essential. Text and picture are separate, and people, glowing reddish yellow, emerge from the darkness of black background. Initially she served as her own model, but today she works more and more with models.

While it may appear unusual for an artist from New Zealand to address European myths and traditions, the discussion of the role of women in society is a topic discussed in all cultures. Christine Webster’s art, which has also been successful in Western Europe, has quickly brought her into contact with the international art world.

© Reinhold Misselbeck 1996, late Curator of Photography, Museum Ludwig Collection, Cologne and concept: 20th Century Photography, Museum Ludwig, Taschen, 2005.