11.10.07 Esther Teichmann, 'Silently Mirrored', Mother of invention, British Journal Photography


German- born artist Esther Teichmann is holding her first solo-exhibition at Man&Eve this month.

Continuing with her studies of her mother’s, father’s and husband’s bodies, Teichmann’s prints are somehow both sinister and comforting. Her subjects are only vaguely depicted, and yet the images create a sense of intimacy.

Photographs of Teichmann’s mother, for example, hint at maternal nearness, showing close ups of her breasts and stomach. Another image, probably the strongest in the show, shows the same model in a satin nightgown, her feet sharply in focus out her face obscured.

The London-based artist has become popular in Europe since she was listed among Art Review’s top 25 artists in 2005 and she works mainly in colour photography. But she has recently created video works, and one of these is included in this show. A pile of broken glass on the floor is shown in almost intolerably slow motion, while Teichmann’s mother speaks over the picture in tones of seeming desperation and helplessness. The piece evokes themes of separation and loss, themes that can also be traced in the photographs.

In fact the exhibition works strongly as a single piece, with each image complementing the others in the collection.

The images of Teichmann’s mother, for exampled are echoed in photographs of her lover, creating a single, self-referential body of work. And the images are rich in texture too, taking their aesthetic cues from oi painting rather than modern photography. It’s an exhibition that deserves to be contemplated slowly.

by Sophie Pilgrim