Juergen Teller is renowned for his raw, unfiltered style so when it comes to documenting life as a football fan, he tells it like it is, in all it’s beery, exuberant and painful glory.
To coincide with the 2018 World Cup, Teller is exhibiting a series of photographs and films at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow, which reveal his journey as an avid football fan. The photographs, which have been taken over a 15-year period, feature a mix of joy – Teller is German after all, so has actually experienced the happiness of his team winning the World Cup in recent years – and of pain, with his candid style amply capturing the agony that can be caused when your team loses.
The most personal image is perhaps the most famous photograph here: a self-portrait that shows Teller standing naked atop of his father’s grave, one foot propped up on a football and beer in hand. The shot is given added poignancy with the knowledge that his father, who committed suicide in 1988, did not share Teller’s interest or love of the sport.
Other memorable images feature his son, Ed, watching the last World Cup final, looking occasionally bored, and elsewhere exultant (alongside an ecstatic Teller, arms aloft). Germany of course won the 2014 final against Argentina 1-0.
In addition to the photographs, Garage is also showing a home video of Teller watching Germany’s progress in the 2002 World Cup final, where his team lost 2-0 to Brazil. The gallery is geared up to repeat this trick for the 2018 event, and will play recordings of Teller watching each of Germany’s matches over the tournament, with the accompanying joy or devastation.