The portraits by Juergen Teller can be raw, candid, and in i need to live, the largest retrospective of the German photographer, it all comes back. Fashion, self-irony, and even his childhood, but not only that. Curated by Thomas Weski in collaboration with Dovile Drizyte, this solo exhibition has a genuine flavor that reflects Teller’s character very well; unique in his own way and capable of portraying models and celebrities exactly as they are. His aesthetic is extremely realistic, nodding to the world of fashion through collaborations with publications like Dazed & Confused, The Face, or i-D, which over the years have cultivated a special relationship with Juergen Teller, leading him to collaborate with major fashion houses such as Saint Laurent, the main partner of the exhibition.
The straightforwardness of Juergen Teller
Teller has the ability to do something that few can: put everyone on the same level in front of his photography. Iconic is Vivienne Westwood‘s nude, appearing so nonchalant through Teller’s lens that it reminds us of her punk and explosive personality even without any clothing. In the over 1000 exhibited photographs, there’s everything: from commissioned works to more intimate and personal projects. Slightly different from what was seen at the Grand Palais Ephémere in Paris, this exhibition is specifically designed for the spaces of the Triennale.
In short, “I Need to Live” doesn’t just narrate celebrities but also other chapters of Teller’s life, such as that of fatherhood. Alongside the suicide of his father, perhaps the most intimate chapter. The shots of his daughter sometimes revisit the most significant moments of his career, at times delving into the tender and private sphere of the photographer. The opportunity to bare oneself – even literally – is at the heart of this exhibition that opens the doors to Teller’s life, who over the years has captured many key figures in pop culture of the last thirty years. But it’s not just that; there’s also a lot of self-irony. The most hilarious and – in our opinion – one of the most engaging walls is undoubtedly dedicated to the memes collected over the years. From Twitter to pages of articles where Teller is playfully teased, the photographer once again demonstrates not being afraid to expose himself, even through the words (and perspectives) of those who don’t understand his photography.
i need to live will run until April 1 in the spaces of the Triennale di Milano.