The Deputy President’s Office, Ministry of Culture and Sport and Spokesperson’s Office of Madrid Region have presented this morning the exhibition Juergen Teller: Calves & Thighs at the Alcalá 31 exhibition hall as part of PHotoEspaña 2010 Festival.
The exhibition is co-produced by the Regional Government of Madrid and the Kunsthalle Nürnberg / City of Nuremberg, where it was on display from December 2009 until February of this year. The exhibition features the work of photographer Juergen Teller (Erlangen, Germany, 1964).
After leaving school, Teller began an apprenticeship at a factory that made bows for musical instruments. In 1984 an allergy forced him to change course and he began to study photography in Munich, completing his education two years later. Since then he has lived and worked in London.
The exhibition includes approximately 140 works which provide a comprehensive overview of the German photographer’s oeuvre. However, in addition to showcasing a selection of his photographic series, the exhibition will also offer visitors a chance to view a wide array of printed material (magazines, books, etc.) and a video about the artist that serve to round out the retrospective.
This exhibition was curated by Paul Wombell, a London-based curator and photography writer. Wombell has been the director of the Impressions Gallery in York (1986-1994), director of the Photographers’ Gallery in London (1994-2005) and director of the Hereford Photography Festival (2006-2007). Since 2007 he has curated exhibitions for the annual PHotoEspaña Festival, and this year he also curated shows for the FotoGrafia Internazionale di Roma festival.
The exhibition is distributed between two floors: the ground floor is given over to the Paradis, Louis XV, Go-Sees and Ed in Japan series, while the first floor features selected portraits, a wide array of magazines and catalogues in which Teller's work has been published, and a video. The numerous works on display highlight the pivotal role that Teller has played in the visual redefinition of fashion photography, which under his keen eye evolved from glossy but somewhat contrived and insubstantial images to a more realistic and intimate vision of the fashion world. Teller has continued to consolidate his status in this field, but he has also earned a prestigious reputation in the art world.
Today, in addition to admiring his images in the most innovative fashion magazines, we can also find his work in exhibitions at major museums and galleries around the world. The true essence of Teller's entire oeuvre is portraiture, for he is first and foremost a photographer of people. He is extraordinarily gifted at getting his subjects – be they family, friends, models, artists, designers, musicians or fellow photographers – to relax and act for the camera. In some cases the artist himself participates in the process, and on such occasions the camera sometimes changes hands because Teller often asks other people to take photographs of him. The observer is therefore left with the impression that the camera has a life of its own, out of its owner’s hands.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue in English and Spanish with essays by Paul Wombell, The Guardian critic Adrian Searle, the artist’s relative Helmut Teller, and fashion expert Fabrice Paineau.
Free guided tours will also be offered at the following times: Wednesdays, 12 noon; Saturdays, 12 noon, 1 pm, 6 pm and 7 pm; and Sundays, 12 noon and 1 pm.
Meanwhile, Juergen Teller will participate in a round-table discussion on German photography to be held at the Goethe-Institut on 10 June.
Finally, to celebrate Photography Night on 18 June, the Alcalá 31 exhibition hall will remain open until midnight.