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les presses du réel

Touch Me

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Juergen Teller Touch me, please
(p. 4-5)


The question of the quantity of images in circulation all around the world is an open cavity reaching the dark hell of our digital memories...
The question of the validity and the pleasure of looking at images is still an open source of delights—like the Turkish ones, sweet and pale coloured...
The question of how a photographer is selected for an exhibition is apparently made according to the usual criteria of celebrity, market, but...
The question of the chosen place to bring and show this material has to be considered in the light of exotic mystery...

The answers are blowing in the cool wind of the Korean spring—bright light, murmuring in the leaves of the Ginkgo Bilobas that shadow the streets of Seoul.

This is the first time Juergen Teller has been carrying his work to Korea: never visited; never shot; never shown. However, his work has been well known through the magazine pages—and fashion ones are a bit of an occupation in Korea.

This collaboration between two institutions—The Consortium Contemporary Art Center in France (initiator of the project) and Daelim Contemporary Art Museum in Korea—is a comprehensive exchange of proceedings and ideas matters but it is primarily a fantastic opportunity to meet Korean people.

The art of Juergen Teller, encompassing different times of day, is an interesting combination and arrangement of faces and objects; of the exceptional, captured in everyday ordinary scenes bathed in surreal emotion.
Whilst it is known from our predecessors, that photography has never been objective, with Juergen Teller's work, the photographer is present in the center of the action, playing his role with a visible obvious pleasure and satisfaction.

Although it is not a competition between the photographer and the model, it is a challenging balance addressed to the viewer—because there is always a viewer, an extra eye not necessarily invited to share that kind of privacy, but ultimately agreed to be the receiver, to be the one who will close the circle.
Juergen Teller directs his models with the power of the camera—a machine that is always respected, a machine that gives order to be followed blindly. He gives them the opportunity to be better and ridiculous—without any naughtiness. He allows them access to the desirable status of becoming a character. The narrative has to be written later on, like in Bill Wegman's paintings where postcards of the Americana are posted on the canvas.

The narrativeis partially left to curators when choosing how to display the works in the exhibition. They bring together images totally disconnected in their subjects or locations... in a new moment of grace. Think of the portrait of Richard Hamilton, the great British artist with his goat-like long face, placed close to the photograph of Lily Cole, the famous model, posing nude with her arms stretched up above her head, with her breasts appearing like ripe fruits echoing the yellow quinces hanging next to Hamilton's face. This kind of juxtaposition occurs throughout the exhibition: a visual narrative created through combination of otherwise independant images. A recent series of nude portraits of Vivienne Westwood—the ex-goddess of the British punk fashion—were lined up with a photograph of a detail of the painting Le Sacre de Napoléon by David shot in Le Louvre in Paris. The two images have a similar reddish-orange colours and the crown that Napoléon is holding in his hands is reminiscent of the crown used as a logo for the Vivienne Westwood company. Whilst these connections are obvious, it is the viewer who weaves the threads together.

The book that accompanies the exhibition functions as a catalogue but it is also a specific publication, in that additional images of the installation at Le Consortium were placed alongside the original images by Juergen Teller. Shot by the artist himself, they possess his own point of view, his own way to hang the images on a wall, which becomes an infinite background. It breaks or interrupts, along the pages, the sequence of the photographs by inserting another world—the world of the day after, the next step after the viewer's look.
It symbolizes a play in his own world, a statement on his own work, a position in reviewing his own images.

A book is a step forward. To the destination of the audience—anyone who is in empathy with these images and who wants to keep the feelings fresh and alive for a bit of time. In this respect, photographs could be like pets following you and protecting you for the future...


Le Consortium, contemporary art center, Dijon
Daelim Contemporary Art Museum, Seoul
Juergen Teller : autre titre



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