Should you fancy an artful gallery stroll [less Monet, more strip-tease], saunter through the Grand Palais Éphémère, and you might chance upon a naked Vivienne Westwood. Next to her, you’ll find two equally bare women poised before the Mona Lisa, unabashedly sharing a cheeky moment, hinting that similar scenes during the painting process could very well have inspired her eternal gaze and elusive smile. Or, perhaps, you’ll encounter a shivering man standing stripped of all, guzzling beer whilst perched atop a grave, laying it all bare with proud bravado – from manhood to gut, football bellow foot. Well, that daring and naked man is actually Juergen Teller, the grave is his father’s, and that photograph will be on display in his new exhibition, I Need to Live, taking pride in your nudes to a whole other level.
From the 16th of December until the 9th of January 2024, you can drench yourself in the eccentricity of this artistic audacity. His most extensive exhibition to date, Juergen Teller, i need To live, is organised by the Réunion des Musées Nationaux – Grand Palais with the support of Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello. Beyond the slight case of museum ‘nudetography’, Juergen Teller has blessed us with more iconic pieces of work that will too don the exhibition. Instances of such Teller artworks include a two-decade portrait of Yves Saint Laurent, the already mentioned Vivienne Westwood in the buff, and the iconic ad campaign for Marc Jacobs In 2008, Legs, Bags and Shoes, where Victoria Beckham bagged the spotlight, literally.
Teller stands tall among a select group of globally recognised photographers who are highly regarded in both commercial photography and contemporary art. He rose to eminence as a photographer in the 1990s, and since then has etched his mark, influencing the industry through provocative fashion editorials, candid portraits of celebrities and distinctive campaigns for various designers. His lens hasn’t solely focused on capturing others; rather, he frequently becomes the central figure in extensive bodies of personal work, exploring his own family, roots and identity – naked truth and all. His work is generally defined by a blend of serious, intimate, yet often humour-laced characters, fashioned in the style of grotesque.
In this exhibition, we’ll be seeing personal and commissioned collections, new photographic series as well as videos and installations. The exhibition space was architected by 6a architects, the very minds behind his personal studio in West London. Juergen Teller, i need to live is his reaction to life’s defining moments and existential incidents – both tragic and triumphant – that have shaped his journey. With his signature and straight-forward style, Teller celebrates the value of being alive, whilst acknowledging the fragility of human experience.