Juergen Teller and Xiang Jing dish up desire and detachment in joint show at Lehmann Maupin

Hong Kong gallery Lehmann Maupin's latest exhibition showcases the work of German photographer Juergen Teller and Chinese sculptor Xiang Jing
Hong Kong gallery Lehmann Maupin's latest exhibition showcases the work of German photographer Juergen Teller and Chinese sculptor Xiang Jing. Courtesy of Lehmann Maupin New York and Hong Kong
(Image credit: Kitmin Lee)

Provocative works are nothing new in contemporary art today, but Lehmann Maupin (opens in new tab)'s intriguing pairing of erotic food photographs by German photographer Juergen Teller and Chinese sculptor Xiang Jing's unadorned, seemingly disengaged nudes offers a thoughtful perspective on the complexities of sexual desire.

At first, the two appear as diametric opposites. Here, Teller - renowned for his ability to slip between glamourous advertising projects for the likes of Louis Vuitton and Céline to his more gritty creative portraiture of celebrities like Charlotte Rampling and Kate Moss - presents a photograph of a naked Vivienne Westwood reclining on a sofa shown alongside a collection of lasciviously glistening images of chef Antonio Guida's hedonistic gastronomic creations for the iconic Tuscan Hotel II Pellicano. 

'I get equally excited and have exactly the same feeling if I photograph food or a naked woman,' explains Teller. 'I didn't want to use the images of women I've photographed because food porn is more abstract and so combines well with Xiang's foreign sculptures.'

The images include Teller's favourite: 'Food No. 116', which shows a plate of food that oozes saturated colour and voluptuous form. 'Juergen's photographs don't objectify women. These images may be of food but in the end they are really all about human beings,' observes the Beijing-based Xiang, who strips away all elements of physical attraction with her series of hairless, expressionless life-like forms that reflect on the vulnerability of Chinese women.

And the inclusion of Westwood's portrait? 'Ah yes, well that is like a sweetie,' laughs Teller. 'She sits there like a queen looking over everything. It works somehow even if it shouldn't.'

Teller exhibits lascivious photographs of food (and a naked Vivienne Westwood) alongside Xiang's haunting nudes.

Teller exhibits lascivious photographs of food (and a naked Vivienne Westwood) alongside Xiang's haunting nudes. Courtesy of Lehmann Maupin New York and Hong Kong

(Image credit: Kitmin Lee)

Teller's photographs speak of desire and eroticism, Xiang's sculptures are devoid of any expression

While Teller's photographs speak of desire and eroticism, Xiang's sculptures are devoid of any expression. The unusual pairing offers a thoughtful perspective on the complexities of sexual desire. Courtesy of Lehmann Maupin New York and Hong Kong

(Image credit: Kitmin Lee)

'Food No.113, Hotel Il Pellicano 2010' by Juergen Teller.

'Food No.113, Hotel Il Pellicano 2010' by Juergen Teller. Courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong. Courtesy of Lehmann Maupin New York and Hong Kong

(Image credit: Kitmin Lee)

'Food No.18, Hotel Il Pellicano 2010' by Juergen Teller. 

'Food No.18, Hotel Il Pellicano 2010' by Juergen Teller. Courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong. Courtesy of Lehmann Maupin New York and Hong Kong

(Image credit: Kitmin Lee)

Teller's favourite of his works on show, 'Food No.116, Hotel Il Pellicano 2010' by Juergen Teller. 

Teller's favourite of his works on show, 'Food No.116, Hotel Il Pellicano 2010' by Juergen Teller. Courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong. Courtesy of Lehmann Maupin New York and Hong Kong

(Image credit: Kitmin Lee)

The Hong Kong gallery hosts a joint show, pitching erotic food photographs by Teller against nude sculptures from Jing

'I didn't want to use the images of women I've photographed because food porn is more abstract and so combines well with Xiang's foreign sculptures,' says Teller. Courtesy of Lehmann Maupin New York and Hong Kong

(Image credit: Kitmin Lee)

'An Accident in Captain Lane' by Xiang Jing, 2005. 

'An Accident in Captain Lane' by Xiang Jing, 2005. Courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong. Courtesy of Lehmann Maupin New York and Hong Kong

(Image credit: Kitmin Lee)

'Sense of Security 2' by Xiang Jing, 2010.

'Sense of Security 2' by Xiang Jing, 2010. Courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong. Courtesy of Lehmann Maupin New York and Hong Kong

(Image credit: Kitmin Lee)

'The Center of Quietude', 2007 (left) and ' To Us...' by Xiang Jing, 2007.

'The Center of Quietude', 2007 (left) and ' To Us...' by Xiang Jing, 2007. Courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong

(Image credit: Kitmin Lee)

Xiang, strips away all elements of physical attraction with her series of hairless, expressionless life-like forms that reflect on the vulnerability of Chinese women

Xiang, strips away all elements of physical attraction with her series of hairless, expressionless life-like forms that reflect on the vulnerability of Chinese women. Courtesy of Lehmann Maupin New York and Hong Kong

(Image credit: Kitmin Lee)

'Juergen's photographs don't objectify women. These images may be of food but in the end they are really all about human beings,' observes Xiang.

'Juergen's photographs don't objectify women. These images may be of food but in the end they are really all about human beings,' observes Xiang. Courtesy of Lehmann Maupin New York and Hong Kong

(Image credit: Kitmin Lee)

And Vivienne? Ah yes, well that is like a sweetie,' laughs Teller. 'It works somehow even if it shouldn't.' 

And Vivienne? Ah yes, well that is like a sweetie,' laughs Teller. 'It works somehow even if it shouldn't. Courtesy of Lehmann Maupin New York and Hong Kong

(Image credit: Kitmin Lee)

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