Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Posted by Bethan Holt, Junior Fashion Editor at Large

Victoria Beckham for Marc Jacobs by Juergen Teller 
"It was really important not to laugh at her, we had to get her laughing with us" Juergen Teller recounted this morning of his picture of Victoria Beckham in a Marc Jacobs carrier bag.  "she is a product of her own making" he added. The photographer, who has created for some of the most fresh and fun fashion images of recent times, was introducing his new exhibition- Juergen Teller: Woo!- which is his first in Britain for ten years. As Teller speaks about how each of his works comes about, the common thread becomes clear. That he must get to know his subjects, make them trust him and, in the words of ICA Executive Director Gregor Muir, make them "complicit" probably should be obvious when you see Teller's work; Bjork in a blue lagoon with her son, Kate Moss in a wheelbarrow, Charlotte Rampling naked in front of the Mona Lisa. He says, quite simply, "I know everyone well". The sense of connection is the thing that separates him from his peers.

Juergen Teller and Gregor Muir at the ICA this morning 
Woo! shows a comprehensive selection of the Teller oeuvre from the familiar to the new and surprising. There's a 1991 portrait of Kurt Cobain, head bowed towards his guitar. Teller toured for a week with Nirvana and felt "a sense of something great" as he documented his time with the band for an American music magazine. Several works have been scanned- he always works with film, never digital- and blown up to massive proportions, one of these is a precisely (well, it looks precise) composed shot of Marc Jacobs sitting at desk in front of a blazing red and orange background which became an Arena Homme cover. Then there's the personal side of Teller's work, which has hardly been seen until now. It  quite possibly helped that Muir met Teller in Sussex, amongst the friendly surroundings of mutual acquaintances. He has been persuaded to include pictures he's taken around Sussex, of his children Ed and Lola as well as a work called Irene im Wald which was created from a trip back to the woods near his childhood home in Bubenreuth, Germany with his Mum. It's really touching, and if you go make time to read the story accompanying the images.
In the Juergen Teller reading room...
A really powerful component of the exhibition is the reading room which Muir called the "brain of show". I reckon it's more like walking into the bedroom of a Juergen Teller super fan; it's a huge and haphazard collage of all his work, campaigns for Helmut Lang, Celine, Marc Jacobs, himself in all kinds of states of undress and intimate pictures of some of the most famous people in modern culture including Yves Saint Laurent and Vivienne Westwood. It's quite spectacular, don't bypass that on your way upstairs. Oh, and don't go thinking it's called Woo! just because that's a kind of cute, celebratory expression. It apparently refers to the TV series Eastbound and Down which Teller and Muir both love. The character Ashley Schaeffer, played by Will Farrell, says Woo a lot, apparently.

Juergen Teller: Woo! is on at the ICA from tomorrow until 17th March

No comments:

Post a Comment