Thursday, Juergen Teller's show Irene im Wald
opened at The Journal Gallery. The photos, organized in orderly grids, are an intimate window into Teller's relationship with his family as well as his own contemplative wanderings (Irene is the name of Juergen's mother, and Wald
, which means forest
in German, refers to the woods near his childhood home).
The trees most likely signify something special for Teller and his family, which has been producing violin bows for three generations now. But the allergy to wood that Teller developed is what would lead him down the career path of photography. Could the artist feel estranged from the forest he was never able to live off of, as his family has? I was able to bug Juergen with a few questions at the show's opening.
Alexandre Stipanovich: How would you describe your exhibition Irene im Wald?
Juergen Teller: In a way, it's a love letter to my mother and to the forest I grew up very close to. There are pictures of the forest and of my mother in the forest, accompanied with heavy heartfelt text written by me running through the show.
AS: How did you meet the journal's Michael Nevin and Julia Dippelhofer?
JT: I think it was Emma Reeves who interviewed me for the journal
, and we published a portfolio of my work for the Venice Biennale at the Ukranian Pavillion in 2007.
AS: What do you like the most about working with the journal?
JT: I like their approach as a magazine.
AS: What would you say are the main outside influences on your work?
JT: Everything that life throws at me and what I throw back. It's exciting to be alive.
AS: I heard that Michael Schmidt, the retired cop who decided to take photos of himself, is a great influence of yours.
JT: I do like and admire Michael Schmidts work.
AS: I see aspects of the Vienna School, Klimt, Schiele, Freud, and their fascination with the nude and urge to gain access to the psyche of the subject, in your work. For example, in your Kristen McMenamy series shot in Carlo Mollino's house. Would you say that this is true?
JT: I'm interested in a lot of things. This was one aspect I got drunk on, not literally, but I enjoyed this particular journey a lot.
AS: What are you currently working on?
JT: I'm working on a publication with the architect David Chipperfield, who curated the Venice Architecture Biennale this August called Common Ground
; a museum show in Milan with Francesco Bonami at the Palazzo Reale called The Girl with the Broken Nose
opening on September 20th; a show in London with Gregor Muir at the ICA London in January next year, and a catalogue for it; and my usual fashion campaigns for the coming season.
The Journal Gallery
Lucia della Paolera