Juergen Teller: Woo

ICA, Trafalgar Square Tuesday February 12 2013 11:00 - 18:00

Odd title: whatever Juergen Teller’s famous for, it’s not wooing anybody, except perhaps the blindingly famous people he photographs. Oddly – for a fashion photographer – Teller prefers naked. We’re met by five giant portraits, only one of which includes any clothing: the threadbare jeans, beneath guitar and scraggly blond mop, of Kurt Cobain.

With his phallic instrument, invisible face and inaudible music, Cobain’s the most complex figure here, much more problematic than the three creamy, fiery-haired Vivienne Westwoods beside him. She shows us everything: our reaction to her orange pubes is our problem. Even the kitten in the fifth image is brasher than Cobain, although it could be forgiven for wondering what it’s doing here.


Lily Cole’s breasts, Marc Jacobs’s chest, Mrs Teller’s belly: all are over-exposed, in every sense. There’s more of Juergen’s arse than I wish to see of anyone – it’s not shocking, just pointless, a little puckered-up absence of meaning. Charlotte Rampling should draw the eye more, but she’s so overtly, artificially transfixed that we, too, stare at Teller’s bum, pondering his priorities.


Victoria Beckham’s bare calves poke from a Marc Jacobs bag, wearing unwearable shoes. It’s post-fashion: smarmily clever flashbulb bling that leaves you blinking, but not in a good way. At least Kate Moss, curled in a wheelbarrow, is clothed, her beige dress and hair toned as perfectly with the crumbled ground as Westwood is with her flame-coloured soft furnishings. Mud and models, cunts and cushions: maybe Teller can’t tell the difference. Or maybe, post-fashionista that he is, he simply doesn’t care.

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