Swimming, Glemmingebro, Sweden 2015
30,5 × 25,4 cm
Edition of 120 copies, signed and numbered on certificate
over dit werk
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.
over Juergen Teller
Juergen Teller is a prominent photographer who has successfully navigated both the fine art and commercial world since beginning his career in the late 1980s. Teller does not distinguish between his commercial and non-commercial work, treating all of his subjects—family members, celebrities, and himself—with a uniform style of grit and raw emotion that has become his iconic and instantly recognizable aesthetic. Although he often parodies fashion photography, he is very much a participant in it, promoting the industry even as he criticizes it. Teller subjects his models to unflattering angles, uses a bright, harsh flash, and never retouches his photographs, exposing the myth of idealized beauty that airbrushed fashion images offer. Teller’s work is characterized by spontaneity and genuineness that he believes better evoke authentic desire in comparison to the artificial sensuality often found in commercial photography. Some of the prominent figures Teller has photographed include William Eggleston, Cindy Sherman, Kristen McMenamy, Kate Moss, Vivienne Westwood, Kim Kardashian, and Kanye West.
(courtesy of Lehmann Maupin)