Photographer Juergen Teller will present his recent body of work Ukraine, for his fourth exhibition at Lehmann Maupin Gallery. Teller was commissioned, along with four other artists, by the PinchukArtCentre to interpret the Ukraine for the 52nd International Venice Biennale 2007, where a selection from this series was first shown. This exhibition marks the first time, an expanded version, along with other new works, will be shown in the United States.
Faced with how to experience and discover the Ukraine, Teller chose to employ the city as a setting for a W Magazine fashion shoot, characteristically mixing fashion, still-lives of the city, and portraits of ordinary people as a way of representing his own fantasy of a country marked by a brash youthful energy and an obsession with capitalism. In Teller’s Kiev the membrane between harsh economic reality and obtainable fantasy is surprisingly thin and these pictures represent a place where beautiful girls wait to be discovered in a place where the desire for luxury has reached a fever pitch.
Teller’s work, in books, magazines or exhibitions, is marked by his refusal to separate the commercial fashion pictures and his mostly autobiographical un-commissioned images. The Kiev story takes this same structure, expanded here from both the printed pages of W, and then from the exhibited version in Venice. Teller also adds some recent works – portraits from recent campaigns for Vivienne Westwood and Marc Jacobs including Victoria Beckham, Harmony Korine, an exuberant portrait of Jacobs himself and private photographs of Lily Cole, Gisele Bündchen and his children.
Born in Germany, Juergen Teller has lived and worked in London for 20 years. Recent solo exhibitions include Awailable at Inverleith House, Edinburgh in 2007 and Do You Know What I Mean at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris in 2006. He was included in the important photography survey Click Double Click at Haus der Kunst, Munich 2006. Teller was the recipient of the Citibank Photography Prize 2003 and has published numerous books of his work with Steidl including Tracht, Go-Sees, Märchenstüberl, Zwei Schäuferle mit Kloß und eine Kinderportion Schnitzel mit Pommes Frites and Nürnberg.