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Juergen Teller

Swimming, Glemmingebro, Sweden 2015 (2015/2017)

Juergen Teller’s new edition for TEXTE ZUR KUNST is a self-portrait 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.

Giclée print, 25.4 × 30.5 cm, edition: 120 + 20 A.P., numbered and signed certificate, € 350.– plus shipping.