Jürgen Teller | Paradis
KÖNIG GALERIE | Dessauerstrasse | 15.1.–5.2.2011
Press Release:

KÖNIG GALERIE presents an exhibition by the internationally re-known photographer Juergen Teller. The show centers around „Paradis“, a series of nude photographs depicting actress Charlotte Rampling and model Raquel Zimmermann at the Parisian Louvre. 

The exhibition is part of the Gallery Exchange Program „Berlin-Paris“, organized by the French Embassy in Germany. Johann König's partner is the Parisian magazine Paradis, which first published Juergen Teller's series in its fifth edition in 2009.

Encouraged and enabled by the magazine's publisher and creative director, Thomas Lenthal, in 2009 Teller obtained the possibility to shoot the nude photographs for one entire night in the galleries of the Parisian Louvre. In addition to the Brazilian top model Raquel Zimmermann, his immediate choice for the photographs was the star of European cinema, Charlotte Rampling. With both, Teller developed a tight friendship, what allowed him to convince Rampling of shooting entirely nude photographs, an accomplishment no other photographer had achieved before.

Juergen Teller stages the two celebrities in his typical unpretentious way. In mostly neutral, relaxed poses, they stand in a detached manner between antique sculptures or sit on the visitor benches in one of the painting galleries. Their gazes move past the spectators and sculptures, while their faces remain impassive. The only exception is the photograph in front of the Mona Lisa, for which Zimmermann and Rampling coquettishly loll at the visitor's safety cord and seem to compete with their smiles against the Mona Lisa. In some of the photographs, Teller directs his attention to details of Louvre pieces, among them a section of Jacques-Louis David's painting of the coronation of Napoleon, on which the camera's flash bounces. 

In this way, the differences between the animate bodies and the marble sculptures' and artifacts' inanimate matter are blurred, giving the scenes an almost uncanny atmosphere. Teller in turn counteracts this effect by letting the spectator become aware of the photographer’s presence and thus take part in the intimate shooting: The asymmetrically cut space attests to the apparent spontaneity of free-hand photography. Additionally, the use of the camera flash is made evident through the hard-edge shadows, partial over-exposures and reflections – all of which strategies of the technically imperfect - giving Teller's subjective photography not only its characteristic intimate charm but also its boldness and occasional crudeness. Despite of this, Teller never loses his respect towards the persons he photographs, building on the personal relationships of mutual trust he develops with them. In the Paradis series' case, it is precisely this what allows him to naturally and gracefully strip Rampling and Zimmermann not only of their clothes but their untouchable media-star images.

Juergen Teller was born in 1964 in Erlangen, Germany. In 1986 he graduated at the Bayerische Staatslehranstalt für Photographie in Munich. On the same year he moved to London where he has been living and working ever since.

At the beginning of the 1990s Teller got commissioned with portraits for the music industry and soon started collaborating with various magazines such as Vogue, i-D, The Face and Arena. His raw and documentary-like approach to fashion photography quickly gained him much attention and the chance to shoot the campaigns of Comme des Garçons, Helmut Lang, Marc Jacobs and Vivienne Westwood among others. These campaigns truly revolutionized fashion photography and turned Teller into one of the most influential star photographers of the 1990s. 

It is however only towards the end of the 1990s that Teller successfully crossed the border between fashion and art. He first participated in group shows at art photography meccas such as the Photographers’ Gallery in London (1999) and the Fotomuseum Winterthur (2000). Shortly after his much acclaimed Märchenstüberl-series, he was offered solo shows at established institutions such as the Fotomuseum in Munich (2002) and the Museum Folkwang in Essen (2002). The Kunsthalle Mannheim (2003), the Kunsthalle Wien (2004), the Foundation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris (2006) and the Kunsthalle Nüremberg (2009) quickly followed suit and invited Teller to exhibit. In 2003 he won the prestigious Citibank Photography Prize.