Woo! exposes Juergen Teller's sexy and sensitive sides at ICA

Jan 29, 2013

Teller's naked celebrity snaps grab attention but his pensive family photos win over critics


Kate Moss

What you need to know
An exhibition of photographs by celebrated German-born, UK-based fashion photographer and artist Juergen Teller, Woo!, has opened at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA).

Teller is best known for his work with models such as Kate Moss (above) and his fashion campaigns for Marc Jacobs. His images have also appeared in exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Tate Modern and the Venice Biennale.

Woo! presents Teller's fashion and commercial photography from the 90s, including images of Lily Cole, Kurt Cobain and Vivienne Westwood, as well as more recent landscapes and family portraits. Exhibition runs until 17 March.

What the critics like
The ICA offers "an elegant microcosm" of Teller's career, says Alastair Sooke in the Daily Telegraph. Woo! ranges from the "anarchic and sexually explicit" to more pensive, personal works. Somewhere between documentary and make-believe, Teller's ambiguous images have a "charismatic power".

Teller's nudes reveal an intimate trust between subject and photographer, says Sue Steward in the Evening Standard. But the most surprising and mature work is the series documenting his childhood. Here Teller reveals his emotional character with "no need for exposing himself through nakedness".

Juergen Teller's images are "captivatingly raw", says Rebecca Gonsalves in The Independent. Nudity and vulnerability are common themes, and Teller is unafraid of positioning himself in the camera's gaze. He created some of the most influential images of the Nineties and they are just "as powerful now as they were 20 years ago".

What they don't like
Teller is a showman who likes to shock with nudity, and catch our attention with celebrities, says Tabish Kahn on Londonist. These works will attract visitors, but often fall flat, or feel clunky. It's "the subtler and less sensationalist pieces that deserve the most attention".

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