A question of this body: Esther Teichmann

As part of the gallery’s digital programme running alongside our exhibition Home Truths, artist Esther Teichmann took over our Instagram feed, posting images from her studio in London, which ruminate upon the maternal in relation to loss and desire – one of the many themes present in the artist’s work. The following feature provides a more detailed focus on Teichmann’s practice, and includes images, a film and writing by the artist.


Untitled, from the series Mythologies, 2012-13

“Inherent to the photographic, as to desire and love, is the paradox and impossibility of grasping a body, the quest to close this gap between oneself and the other/image, and the inevitable distance, which always remains. As much as the photograph is a question of this body, it is also a moment of violence, of wanting to possess that which is always beyond reach. Momentarily photography delivers the perhaps universal and timeless desire to become one with another, sought within the lovers’ embrace. The apparatus makes this possible, makes loving pictures and picturing love a vertiginous extended moment of absolute proximity and distance at once.” – Esther Teichmann


Untitled, from the series Mythologies, 2012-13

In Search of Lightning, single screen projection, continuous loop, HD video and sound, 5 min, 2011

“In Search of Lightning is a haunting lament to mortality, grief and loss. Seductive in its palette of sumptuous blues and greens, the film transports the viewer to the peripheral edges of perception, following a journey through sub-tropical scenes of greenhouses, swamps and caves. We watch as water trickles from the lips of statues of gods and goddesses from long ago, and inky pools of water remain static as steam rises above them.” – Esther Teichmann


Untitled, from the series Mythologies, 2012-13


Untitled, from the series Mythologies, 2012-13


Untitled, from the series Mythologies, 2012-13


Film stills from In Search of Lightning, 2011

German–American artist Esther Teichmann received a Masters of Fine Art from the Royal College of Art in 2005. Based primarily in London, she is Senior Lecturer in Photography at the London College of Communication, University of the Arts London. Esther completed a PhD by project at the RCA in 2011 and spent 2012/2013 as guest professor and visiting artist in San Francisco at the California College of the Arts.

Teichmann’s work has been exhibited and published internationally, with group shows in Houston, London, Los Angeles, Berlin, Mannheim and Modena and solo exhibitions in the UK, Australia, Germany and Switzerland. Esther curated a series of events, Affect & the Photographic, for The Photographers’ Gallery in February 2011, and recently published a limited edition artist’s book, Drinking Air.


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