Dr Esther Teichmann

BA Photography, Senior Lecturer

London College of Communication


German/American artist Esther Teichmann received an MA and PhD from the Royal College of Art. Primarily based in London, she is senior lecturer at the London College of Communication on the BA and MA in Photography, lecturer at the Royal College of Art in Critical and Historical Studies and spent 2012/2013 as guest professor at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. 

Teichmann has both published and shown her work internationally, participating in recent group exhibitions at the Houston Centre of Photography and the Dong Gang Museum of Photography in South Korea. Esther has had further group and solo shows in museums and galleries in Germany, the UK, the United States, Australia, Italy and Switzerland. Teichmann has recently been published in Carol Mavor's Black and Blue (Duke University Press) and Mavor's Blue Mythologies (Reaktion Books). Upon invitation Esther has curated talks program for the Photographers’ Gallery (on Affect in 2011), and guest edited and written six features for Foam Museum’s blog (2013).

New visual and written works are featured in the recent issue 51 of the Spanish/Mexican Photography biannual EXIT, Looking Back. A feature of new work with an essay by SF MOMA curator, Jessica Brier, is available on the Daylight Digital App. In May 2014 a solo show at Flowers Gallery, London, Fractal Scars, Salt Water and Tears, was launched with a publication (Self Publish Be Happy Book Club Volume V). Teichmann is the recipient of the 2014 Levallois Prize and will be showing new work in Paris in October 2014. Esther is also currently working on several new film pieces as part of a trilogy to be shown at Legion TV in London in 2015, following her 2012 film In Search of Lightning

Research interests

Teichmann is an artist and writer whose work explores photography’s relationship to loss and desire. Teichmann’s visual practice works across still and moving image, collage, painting and sculpture, to create fantastical immersive installations.

Research statement

Teichmann's practice uses still and moving image, collage and painting to create alternate worlds, which blur autobiography and fiction. Central to the work lies an exploration of the origins of fantasy and desire and how these are bound to experiences of loss and representation. Both filmic works and photographs of turned away bodies and primordial spaces of enchantment work with the relationships between images, and the narratives these juxtapositions create.

Across writing, photographic works and film pieces, we move from real to imagined spaces, exploring the relationship between loss, desire and the imaginary. Within staged fantastical images, the subjects are turned-away figures of loss, desired but always already beyond reach. The photographic medium is worked upon with painting, collage and montage, narrative voice over juxtaposed with moving image. Here, the photographic is loosened from its referent, slipping in and out of darkness, cloaked in inks and bathed in subtle hues of tinted light. The spaces inhabited within the films and images are womb-like liquid spaces of night, moving from beds to swamps and caves, from the mother to the lover in search of a primordial return. Central to the work lies an exploration of the origins of fantasy and desire and how these are bound to experiences of loss and rep­resentation.

Into, Out From, Through: Esther Teichmann and the Photograph as a Portal calls for a new way to look at photographs, not as mirrors of or windows into the world but as portals between personal and universal, reality and supernatural and photography and other mediums, examining the work of Esther Teichmann in these terms. 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 sense of otherworldly power. This complex, even troubled relationship with the medium has yielded a passionate foray into others.

Jessica Brier, (SFMOMA curator of Photographs - Introduction to Daylight Digital feature (to be published Dec 2013)

Teichmann's utopian island-world lies somewhere between black and blue seas, between here and now and the fantasy of where one might go, or perhaps, even, where one has been. 

Carol Mavor, Love in Black and Blue.

Selected research outputs

  • Mondschwimmen

    Teichmann, Esther (2015) Mondschwimmen. [Show/Exhibition]

  • Staging Disorder

    Stewart, Christopher and Teichmann, Esther (2015) Staging Disorder. [Show/Exhibition]

  • Staging Disorder

    Teichmann, Esther (2015) Staging Disorder. In: Staging Disorder. Black Dog Publishing, London. ISBN 978-1-910433-15-7

  • The Skin of the Image

    Carruthers, Beverely and Leister, Wiebke and Teichmann, Esther (2015) The Skin of the Image. Photography and the Contemporary Imaginary Research Hub, UAL, London.

  • Convulsive Walls

    Klenz, Steffi and Teichmann, Esther (2013) Convulsive Walls. [Show/Exhibition]

  • InAppropriation

    Schuman, Aaron and Teichmann, Esther (2012) InAppropriation. [Show/Exhibition]

  • Wahlverwandtschaften

    Teichmann, Esther (2011) 'Wahlverwandtschaften'. [Show/Exhibition]