Teju Cole

United States - Nigeria (1975)
Biennale Images Vevey

‘Fernweh’ is not an easy word to translate. In German, it denotes ‘longing to be elsewhere, to see what lies beyond’ but may also conjure up ‘nostalgia for a place where we don’t live’. For Teju Cole, a Nigerian photographer and writer now living in the US, Switzerland embodies this feeling of a change of scenery. Presented outdoors, in the very heart of one of the most beautiful settings of the Vaud Riviera, his Fernweh series, created between 2014 and 2019, mischievously reveals the discrepancy between the ideal image forged over centuries, and the reality of a country he cherishes.

Through his silent photographs, Teju Cole presents an affectionate and sincere look at an almost idyllic Switzerland.