Spotlight: Candida Höfer’s lavish interiors offer a refreshing take on documentary photography
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About the artist: German photographer Candida Höfer (b. 1944) explored different types of photography early in her career; she worked as a newspaper portrait photographer in 1968, then in the early 1970s studied daguerreotypes at the Werner Bokelberg studio in Hamburg, eventually enrolling at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf to study film in 1973.
Within a few years, however, Höfer switched to photography and began studying with famed photographer Bernhard “Bernd” Becher. Classmates included Andreas Gursky, Axel Hütte and Thomas Struth, and together the group became colloquially referred to as the “Becher class”, as they adopted Bernd and Hilla Becher’s mode of “typologies”, a form of documentary photography artistic. in their own way.
Since then, Höfer has exhibited internationally, including representing Germany alongside Martin Kippenberger at the Venice Biennale in 2003, and his work has been acquired for the permanent collection of several major museums in Europe and the United States. United.
What do you want to know: Höfer is currently the subject of a solo exhibition, “Libraries – Churches – Theatres”, at Galleri K in Oslo, on view until December 18, 2022. The exhibition features 12 of Höfer’s photographs which feature an assortment of different types of building interiors. Taken between 2000 and 2019, the works were made with a large format camera and favor symmetry in their composition, a hallmark of Höfer’s work. From austere libraries to opulent basilicas and luxurious theatres, the collection of works is emblematic of Höfer’s style and inimitable eye. The locations range from Buenos Aires to Moscow, highlighting the breadth of the artist’s inspiration and interests. The show also shows Höfer’s mastery with scale, with some works measuring well over six feet.
Why we love it: Höfer’s photographs of interiors from around the world are visually captivating. Despite the frequent use of a wide viewpoint, each image’s intricate detail and seemingly near-perfect symmetry draw the eye and provide a wealth of optical gratification.
Those familiar with Becher’s typological style will immediately see precedent in Höfer’s work, as his images transform idiosyncratic interiors into objective models of themselves. Through the 12 works in the exhibition, it is clear that the artist approaches each interior in the same way, regardless of the size of the place. Processing stacks of a common library, as in Conway Library London II (2004) has the same air of importance and liveliness as the sensational baroque interior of Biblioteca dei Girolamini Napoli I (2009). The collection of photographs in “Libraries – Churches – Theaters” is a visual delight and illustrates why Höfer is today considered one of the greatest photographers of her generation.
See the interior of the exhibit below.
“Candida Höfer: Libraries – Churches – Theatres” is on view at Galleri K, Oslo until 18 December 2022.
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