The picturesque vistas and apparent stability of Switzerland have made it an elusive subject for contemporary photography. Over a five-year period (2014 – 2019), 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 film, 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 Graubünden 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.
"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
"Cole’s everyday images capture [Switzerland's] unique mixture of serenity and melancholy" – The Guardian