If you read my journal or follow my Instagram for a while, then you’ve surely noticed my obsession with Juergen Teller and his work. So when I discovered that his two exhibtions open at Grisebach (one of the oldest auction houses in town), I marked 12th of September right away in my calendar as a mandatory trip to Berlin. And… my dream came true. He was there with his partner, Dovile Drizyte, they both signed books and talked with guests. I even took a photo with him – just couldn’t resist that opportunity (sorry not sorry)! He was happy I came especially from Poland to attend the opening… Ok, back to the exhibitions. Grisebach presents precisely two exhibitions with the photographer: “If You Pay Attention” and “Araki Teller, Leben und Tod”. “If You Pay Attention” was completed in collaboration with Drizyte, and features a series of photographs that were taken at the end of 2019 to the beginning of 2020, on an adventurous, heavenly, yet life-threatening journey through Iran. Drizyte, Teller’s partner, wore a chador during a part of their trip and consequently discovered a new identity whilst following this dress code. Teller recalled how: “I didn’t just want to take tourist pictures, I wanted to put something of myself or us into the pictures of Iran, but I didn’t know what or how in the beginning. At the same time, I haven’t yet quite found a way of photographing Dovile, my girlfriend. Sometimes it is difficult with people who are very close to you. It took me years to photograph my Mother.” Next door, at Villa Grisebach, Teller presented his new book, “Araki Teller, Leben und Tod” which was made in collaboration with the Japanese photographer, Nobuyoshi Araki. “Leben und Tod” is the culmination of their joint exhibition at artspace AM, Tokyo held at the end of 2019 and is published by Steidl. This deeply personal project centres on Teller’s “Leben und Tod” (Life and Death) series, in which he reflects upon the death of his uncle and stepfather Artur. Teller juxtaposes photographs of his mother and their hometown in Bubenreuth, Bavaria with images from his journey in Bhutan with Dovile that epitomize life and fertility. Inspired by this series, Araki asked to photograph Teller’s “childhood memory objects”, items that carry special emotional significance to both him and his parents. Teller eagerly collected these personal treasures, gathering toys, a porcelain figurine, and bridges created in the family’s string instruments’ bridge-making workshop. Araki’s resulting images are haunting, yet playful, creating a spellbinding tale once paired with Teller’s original story. Here’s a mix of my favourite works, juxtaposed with Grisebach’s beautiful space.
The exhibitions are on until the 7th of November! More information is available right here.
Photos by Edward Kanarecki.