Our course manual references Esther Teichmann’s work as “personal and universal”. She incorporates painting on her images as well as writing in her work. Initially when I viewed her first image on her website I was reminded of fellow student, Catherine Banks’ assignment in the Digital Image and Culture module which deals with collage, montage and overlays.
Esther Teichmann calls for a new way to look at photographs, not as mirrors of or windows into the world but as portals between the personal and universal, reality and the supernatural and photography and other mediums. Through the layering of memory, desire, fear, fiction and fantasy, Teichmann uses and extends the photographic medium as a passage between realms of experience and artistic creation. Her work exploits the tension between photography’s relationship to reality and a sense of otherworldly power. For Teichmann, this complex, even troubled relationship with the medium yields a passionate foray into others.
Jessica Brier (Into, Out From, Through: Esther Teichmann and the Photograph as a Portal, Daylight Digital) in Artist Statement
As can be seen from the image above, she incorporates three images to make a unit. The big 50 x 70 inch C-type print is overpainted with dripping paint, creating a surreal type muted pinkish mist over the jungle scene. The smaller sepia toned inset to the right features ribbons of seaweed. This seems to be a common motif in her images, which in my mind could possibly refer to entanglement or separation, depending on the use in the image. The 3 x 4 m print inset on the left features a woman with her back to the viewer, who looks as if she is about to submerge herself in the river. The background scene in this inset seems to be a replica of the scene in the large print. Without knowing the background to Teichmann’s work, I found the images quite difficult to interpret.
On reading her artist statement one learns that her work is about “loss, … grief and a sense of inherited home-sickness”. Much of her work is fantasy based and she uses dark, encapsulating liquid filled spaces in her images to represent the womb. Throughout the series we see men, women and children moving away from the viewer/photographer as if in an attempt to cross over some threshold into another world.
Some of her work can be seen here (Drinking Air, and Lulled into Believing). I find its the kind of work that one must look at, think about, read about, then repeat the whole process again a few times. It requires a lot of introspection and reflection.
Teichmann, Esther (n.d.) Artist Statement [online] esterteichmann.com. Available at: http://www.estherteichmann.com/artist-statement [Accessed 26 November, 2016]