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Teju Cole



“Many artists have felt the lure of juxtaposing photographs and text, but few have succeeded as well as Teju Cole. He approaches this problem with an understanding of the limitations and glories of each medium.” —Stephen Shore

The picturesque vistas and apparent stability of Switzerland have made it an elusive subject for contemporary photography. Over a five-year period (2014–2019), Teju Cole found a distinctly new way to look at a country that has been the quintessence of tourist experience for almost two centuries.

Fernweh muses on the German word for a longing to be elsewhere. Cole’s meditative and scrupulously composed work, made with colour fi lm, is evocative of the hidden history of the Alpine nation as well as of its highly curated terrain. Returning to Switzerland year after year, Cole shares the patience and mild palette of luminaries of contemporary European photography—but the constructivist tension in these images is all his own. With photographs shot in every corner of the country – from Vaud to Graubu¨nden to Lugano – Fernweh creates a vision of Switzerland that, though largely devoid of human presence, is rich in human
traces; none more so than Cole’s own distinct way of seeing.


Teju Cole (b. 1975) is a photographer, writer and the author of several books. His photography is in many collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He has been the subject of solo shows at the Fondazione Forma in Milan (2016), the Strauhof in Zu¨rich (2018) and the Lannan Foundation in Santa Fe (2018). A noted novelist and essayist, his honours include the PEN/Hemingway Award (2012), the Focus Award for Excellence in Photographic Writing (2016) and a Guggenheim Fellowship (2018). He is currently a professor in the English Department at Harvard University and a visiting critic in the Photography Program at Yale.



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