»My Mother, My Sister, and I« is a family study in photographs that focuses on the photographer’s relationship with her mother, bordering on a systemic family constellation. In her first book, Christa Mayer combines photographs of her mother and sister, self-portraits, still lifes, landscape photographs, and video portraits to create a narrative that reveals a microcosm visualizing different aspects of attachment, relationship, and family. Mayer’s approach is unsparing yet full of affection. Her photography is direct in nature, and her empathy with her photographic subjects is balanced with Mayer’s analytical interest in them. This ambivalence runs through all the portrait series in the book. Proximity and distance, strangeness and familiarity, resistance and acceptance resonate throughout the work. This tension not only tells a story of complex family dynamics, but also symbolically addresses themes such as aging, generational conflict, and family structures.
Christa Mayer (*1945) was one of the few women to assert herself within the legendary »Werkstatt für Photographie« founded by Michael Schmidt in Kreuzberg, Berlin. Mayer became known for her photographs of the locked psychiatric ward where she worked for decades as a psychotherapist. The appraisal of her life’s work, which also includes landscape photographs, staged images, and abstract compositions, has only just begun.
Haus am Kleistpark, Berlin, 18.01. – 13.3.2022