Claudia Terstappen studied German Literature and Philosophy at the Heinrich Heine University and Sculpture and Photography at the Art Academy in Duesseldorf, Germany and is now a practicing artist of more than 20 years standing with an impressive string of international exhibitions, awards and publications to her name. She has lived and worked in Germany, Great Britain, Spain and the US. Her artistic work focuses on the interrelationship between religion, superstition and science in relation to place, culture and time. The main inspirations for her work have been voyages to Brazil, Colombia, Canada, Japan, the US (Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah), Iceland and Spain. These destinations were chosen for their traces of ancient and modern belief systems, mythical stories, holy landscapes and spiritual thinking. Therefore work and travel have always been joint elements in her life. She has a huge collection of religious items from all over the world that inspire her work. These objects emphasize cross cultural differences of belief systems. Many objects are charged with special powers promising to prevent the evil or make wishes come true. Like her photographs, they are all different and yet address the same issues: Health, fear, love, fertility, death, success and wealth. In 2002 her artistic work brought her to Australia. After traveling in NSW, Central Australia and Queensland she spent numerous months in remote areas of the Northern Territory such as Kakadu and Arnhemland. The radical changes of the landscape during the dry and wet seasons and her growing interest in wildlife saw her return from Europe many times.
Claudia Terstappen has been a lecturer at many internationally recognized universities, including The Slade School of Fine Art, Goldsmith College, Chelsea School of Art and The Royal College in London as well as Maryland University, Massachusetts College of Art and the State University New York. For ten years she directed Southampton University's Postgraduate program in Barcelona. In 2004 Claudia Terstappen was appointed Professor of Fine Arts at Monash University and moved to Melbourne