Juergen Teller – ICA

Self Service magazineKate Moss, No.12, Gloucestershire, 2010, © Juergen Teller

Raw, naked and captivating.

Greeted by Vivienne Westwood’s coquettish smile and ginger pubic hair, the life-size triptych featuring Westwood is the most talked about piece in the ICA’s new exhibition Juergen Teller: Woo and with good reason. The three images are huge in size and resonance. Shot in Westwood’s apartment in 2009, the Dame exudes confidence and power even when she is stripped to the skin. This room also houses a photograph of an adorable kitten and a shy Kurt Cobain.

Juergen Teller PersonalMother with Crocodile, Bubenreuth, Germany, 2002, © Juergen Teller

The Fox Reading Room contains a chaotic spread of images glued from floor to ceiling, covering every inch of wall space with:

Unimpressive erections and bored teenagers with grinningDavid Lynch’s and rare Bjork portraits, next to an ambiguous Marc Jacobs surrounded by cocks and crocodiles, flocks of labias and always; Teller, tits, Teller, tits, Teller, tits…

And, inevitably, Brad Pitt.

The Face MagazineBjork and son, Iceland 1993, © Juergen Teller

If it’s not enough there are books with the images and the stories behind them available for perusing as well. This room feels like a glimpse into Teller’s brain and sets the tone for the rest of the exhibition.

Upstairs is a disquieting, uncomfortable collection peppered with humour. Ranging from a portrait of androgynous artist Roni Horn, drinking wine with her breasts exposed, to a tearful Kate Moss in a wheelbarrow. Next to photographs of Teller’s son Ed and a post-bath poodle. The iconic Victoria Beckham image highlights the amalgam of commercial and personal photographs in this exhibition.

Pettitoe, Suffolk, 2011Pettitoe, Suffolk, 2011, © Juergen Teller

In the next room a bare-chested Marc Jacobs sits behind a red desk, eyes closed in pleasure. Lars Edinger towers over you in y-fronts, covered in black ink with an upside down crown on his head.

No.1 of the series 'Irene im Wald', 2012No.12 of the series ‘Irene im Wald’, 2012, © Juergen Teller

Irene I’m Wald, doesn’t fit in with the raw aesthetic of the rest of the show. This series of images, featuring Teller’s mother, is the most revealing and touching series in the exhibition. The images are muted and lonely and the text relays stories from Teller’s past; like having a gun held to his head and the suicide of his father.

Surprisingly, this exhibition doesn’t operate on a ‘shocking’ level. The prevalence of nudity and explicit material is an aesthetic investigation into what Teller finds curious and intriguing. Juergen Teller: Woo is colourful, personal, moving and decadent.

-Harris Hill

Juergen Teller: Woo is on display at the ICA from 23 January – 17 March 2013.

Admission: Free