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Juergen Teller: two decades on display at the ICA

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Juergen Teller: two decades on display at the ICA

German photographer Juergen Teller exhibits “Woo!” at the ICA to celebrate the last 20 years of his career.

Self Service magazine
Kate Moss, Gloucestershire, 2010, by Juergen Teller.

An impressive success in both artistic and commercial photography, Juergen Teller is one of the most sought-after photographers of his generation, thanks to his unique and at times controversial work that has never ceased to amaze the audience.

Twenty years of Pop Culture in spectacular images

“Woo!” is Teller’s first solo UK exhibition in 10 years and it brings together a series of his most appreciated photographs in the last two decades, being a mixture of fashion and commercial photography, but also revealing to the spectators a more personal side of his work. His exuberant, humorous, but most importantly, honest style has granted the photographer the key to the privacy of A list celebrities and popular culture icons such as Kate Moss, Vivienne Westwood or grunge legend Kurt Cobain. Apart from the very expressive images, the exhibition also gives insight to the controversy that emerged from his weekly column in Die Zeit magazine, by displaying a series of letters of complaint from the readers.

Teller and Pop Icons: commercial with a personal twist

What strikes the viewer is the intimate closeness between Teller and his subjects, a relationship that makes his photography ooze with authenticity, which is probably what makes his shots so beautiful in the first place. The centerpiece of the exhibition is a shocking triptych of an explicitly nude 68 year old Vivienne Westwood, shot back in 2010. Nudes are a large part of Juergen Teller’s work, since they offer him and his characters a connection that a dress code would only inhibit. Other notable celebrity portraits include those of a naked Kate Moss lying in a wheelbarrow, Victoria Beckham featuring for a Marc Jacobs campaign, or a black and white caption of Kurt Cobain taken while Teller was on tour with Nirvana in 1991. Actually, most of his celebrity shots take place after him spending notable time with the popular culture icons, which enhances the above mentioned intimacy.

Even though the collection is occupied by famous faces, the personal part of Teller’s work is not to be ignored. It features nude self-portraits, sensitive shots of his children or captions of his mother staring at the camera through the open mouth of an alligator, plus other concepts of a humor very typical of Juergen Teller’s style.

The exhibition started on 23 January 2013 and is open until 17 March at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London.

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Juergen Teller: two decades on display at the ICA