Teller on Mapplethorpe

Photo courtesy of Alison Jacques Gallery
Photo courtesy of Alison Jacques Gallery

Juergen Teller, a pioneer of modern photography, who’s work blurs the lines between artistic practice and commercial realization, might for the younger generation pose as the photographer who has famously shot Daria Werbowy for Céline in the course of eight seasons; Or maybe as the one behind the infamous photo depicting Kate Moss with pink hair, or as the genius behind Winona Rider’s campaign for Marc Jacobs. Either way you look at it, Jurgen Teller is a household name within the creative industry, whose work – subversive, sometimes funny, sometimes poetic but always unflinching and boundary pushing – is as often depicted in magazines at large as it is hung in galleries. So, when Alison Jacques, who has represented the Estate of Robert Mapplethorpe in the UK for almost two decades, decided to set up an exhibition precedent to earlier practices, she called exactly and solely upon Teller to curate it.

Photo courtesy of Alison Jacques Gallery

”…Teller approached the exhibition in a visceral manner, provocative content interluded by the more poetic still lifes…”


Luckily for the viewer Teller was up for a challenge. Exposing over 40 works by Mapplethorpe, most of them unseen and in private collections, Teller approached the exhibition in a visceral manner, provocative content interluded by the more poetic still lifes and depictions of nature Mapplethorpe was lesser known for. Teller’s curatorial practice resonates with a more contemporary artistic approach, rendering an explorative pathway to Mapplethorpe’s work and the idea’s behind them, to the point of appropriating the imagery to fit with his own inner sanctum. Above all the exhibition exudes a sense of conversation, and for the photos set up as diptych it inevitably reads that way. Although the dialogue wasn’t necessarily between Mapplethorpe and Teller, but seemingly rather an inner one – Mapplethorpe has had with himself.  

Photo courtesy of Alison Jacques Gallery
Photo courtesy of Alison Jacques Gallery