Lilith’s work is sure to invite controversy, and often out of this controversy, new directions for her creativity appear. In 2013, for example, a catholic priest reviewed one of Lilith’s exhibitions and wrote in the parochial papers:
‘To consider Lilith’s work as art, one has to lack something in the brain and be visually impaired.’
Lilith invited him to view her work together and to start a dialogue about the stories she was trying to tell. He accepted and after some time she asked him to participate in a self-portrait to show that dialogue can lead two very different worlds to create something beautiful. After a few months of hesitation, he agreed. This self-portrait (taken in his church) was the start of a new series called ‘Bit player’ in which Lilith is portraying her relatives, friends and acquaintances in her stories. In these self-portraits, others play the leading role while Lilith plays a supporting role. The self-portraits are about them, their jobs, their hobbies, their environment and the life they lead. Her working method hasn’t changed. She still uses a camera, tripod and remote control.
Just as a house can tell who we are, so can a circle of friends. And in this new series ‘Bit player’, it is the circle of friends who adds an additional dimension to the stories that Lilith brings to life. It’s all about identity. Are we born with it or are we a product of our environment, of society, of our family, friends and enemy’s? It’s also a question about freedom. Are we ever truly free or do we (automatically) adapt?
Once again, while her photography is changing and evolving, it’s wit, insight and humanism make it unmistakably ´Lilith´.
This series of self-portraits shows decay of flowers as well of the human body.
A house is not a home
Dutch Art Photographer Henriëtte van Gasteren (Sevenum, 1964), using the artist name Lilith, is a storyteller with a passion for photography. Since 2006 her self-portraits have been telling her stories. Her recurring themes have been women, identity, female archetypes, gender bending and of course, life itself. But above all freedom and equality.
Lilith creates humorous, ironic self portraits around her own home. A house shows who we are and over 5 years Lilith shared her home with her audience. Every corner of the room appears in her extraordinary photography. A story in images about women, vulnerability, eroticism and much more.
In 2012 the time for change had come. For her latest series of self-portraits home owners unknown to her have offered their houses as sets. After she contacted the newspapers dozens of house owners offered their homes for her new self-portraits. Lilith visited the houses, often without the presence of the owner, their faith in her shown by giving her their house keys and carte blanche to use the rooms as she wished.
Lilith, in both her life and her work communicates with the things discovered around her so in these new and strange sites the artistic possibilities explode with sometimes surprising results. Her photography changed but still remained unmistakably ‘Lilith’.
Self-portraits showing my inner housewife.