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Swimming, Glemmingebro, Sweden 2015

Swimming, Glemmingebro, Sweden 2015, 2015/2017 - Juergen Teller

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about this work

This edition is a self-portrait of Juergen Teller as swimmer, though we wouldn’t recognize this figure as him from looking at the picture: at the centre of the shot, far from the camera and shoreline, just below the horizon, which tilts ever so slightly to the right, the artist appears as not much more than a speck within the bluish-grey expanse of sea and sky. At first glance, it may seem that he is staging his own body in a Romantic tableau.Renowned for his portraits of celebrities, Teller often poses them in peculiar or even clearly uncomfortable situations, tripping up even the most un-camera-shy. His pictures convey a distinctive intimacy, whether via the physical reactions he captures or the goose bumps and bruises he doesn’t hide. Teller’s photographs are affecting precisely because they convey the ostensibly unvarnished truth.The motif he chose for this work – a swimmer at sea – may recall the aesthetics of conceptualism or a trope native to painting, but Teller turns this familiar model literally around: rather than bidding farewell to the beholder and the world, he is approaching from the distance, his right arm raised above the water in mid-stroke. Teller shows himself here swimming toward the camera; putting aside irony and Romantic idealism, the protagonist in this natural scene genuinely aims, here, to meet us.


about Juergen Teller

Considered one of the most important photographers of his generation, Juergen Teller is one of a few artists who has been able to operate successfully both in the art world and the world of commercial photography since beginning his career in the late 80s. As such, his images range from classic portraits of celebrities (e.g. Kate Moss, Kurt Cobain and Vivienne Westwood) to more recent landscapes and family portraits. Driven by a desire to tell a story in every picture he takes, Teller has shaped his own distinct and instantly recognizable style, which combines humor, self-mockery and an emotional honesty.

Juergen Teller has had numerous solo exhibitions, including shows at Le Consortium, Dijon; ICA, London; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; and Fondation Cartier, Paris. His work has been shown in several group exhibitions at venues such as Tate Modern, London; MoMA, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris and Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam. In 2007, Teller participated in the 52nd Venice Biennale.

Teller's work is included in numerous collections around the world, including the International Center for Photography, New York; the Pinchuk Collection, Kiev; and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, among others.

Juergen Teller is represented by the following galleries;
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Lehmann Maupin, New York / Hong Kong

Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin

Christine König Galerie, Vienna

Suzanne Tarasieve, Paris

Learn more about this artist

Other works by Juergen Teller