Kim Kardashian, Joan Didion, and Himself: Juergen Teller at Bundeskunsthalle
By Sanuel Spencer
Bonn’s Bundeskunsthalle is showing recent revealing work by German photographer Juergen Teller until September 25. The exhibition includes selections from his 2015 “Kanye, Juergen & Kim” series, featuring both Teller and Kim Kardashian in their underwear.
As the exhibition’s title, “Enjoy Your Life!,” suggests, this exhibition finds Teller in an ebullient mood. In his typical photographic style of candid, naturalistic, seemingly raw images, the artist himself appears, smiling under a gigantic disco ball in the rehabilitation clinic that he visited as a present to himself for his 50th birthday two years ago. Other images see Teller, who has been working professionally for 30 years, embracing the surreal, riding a donkey naked.
As has been the case throughout Teller’s career, “Enjoy Your Life!” draws no distinction between autobiographical or “art” photography and his commercial work or celebrity portraits. Images of the former type are displayed alongside his campaign image for Céline of Joan Didion sporting sunglasses, or a photo of model and artist Saskia de Brauw naked on all fours with a rainbow appearing to emanate from her behind.
The most headline-grabbing work in the exhibition, however, combines both the art and fashion worlds: Teller’s image of reality personality Kim Kardashian strewn over a rubble pile, from his art book “Kanye, Juergen & Kim” — perhaps an archetypal Teller image, providing a stark look at fame and sexuality. After all, the photos of Teller hiking in his underwear in the same book, also featured here, gained none of the viral traction that the Kardashian images did.
“Juergen Teller: Enjoy Your Life!” runs from June 10 through September 25 at the Bundeskunsthalle.