San Francisco, Regensburg, Venice, Basle, Los Angeles, Munich – just a few of the exhibition venues of the famous photographer Candida Höfer, who in 2003 was among the artists representing Germany at the Venice Biennale. OPEN ART preludes her exhibition at Galerie Schöttle, where she will be presenting not only well-known works from her oeuvre but also completely new series of works. Museum interiors and exhibition rooms, vaults and storerooms, libraries, reading rooms, assembly halls, lumber rooms, staircases, rest rooms and universities – these are Candida Höfer’s basic theme.
She depicts the interiors of public and private places exactly as she finds them; nothing is staged or arranged. The selected angle of view, the details, the time of day and the lighting situation are the sole interpretative elements of Candida Höfer’s photographs of interiors.
The exhibited works are typically distinguished both by the complete absence of human beings and by traces of their former presence.
On show in the exhibition, besides the photographs from Venice taken in the course of her preparations for the Biennale, will be her series of photographs of Schloss St. Emmeram at Regensburg and her current series of Dutch libraries and the Dutch Embassy in Berlin designed by the architect Rem Koolhaas.The St. Emmeram series takes us into Princess Gloria’s private quarters and into those parts of the castle museum that are open to the public. Candida Höfer’s current series on Dutch libraries and the Dutch Embassy outstandingly exemplify her interest in public places and spaces.
The viewer cannot fail to be fascinated by the interplay of natural and artificial light in Candida Höfer’s photographs of the Ca’Rezzonico and the Palazzo Labbia in Venice. Her instinctive ability to capture the specific mood of each individual interior is without parallel.
Candida Höfer’s St. Emmeram series testifies to her sure eye for the unusual. These works not only emphasize the contrast of the traditional and the modern but also masterfully merge the two in these palace interiors.
The artist’s photographs of library interiors constitute a relatively large part of her work as a whole. In 2003, Candida Höfer created a series of over twenty Dutch libraries on the occasion of an exhibition at the Huis Marseille (Foundation of Photography).These photographs show the library interiors totally undisturbed by the hectic searching and strenuous working activities of their users. Through their clarity and their concentration purely on parts of the whole, they not infrequently succeed in capturing “the almost magical presence of things” (Candida Höfer).
The same comment also holds good for her series of photographs of the Dutch Embassy in Berlin, which was designed by the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas.Shelves, cupboards, chairs, reading rooms, staircases – all of them objects and places which we use and frequent every day without taking any particular notice of them. But it is in Candida Höfer’s photographs that these objects and places become the central figures, transporting the subject matter into the realm of the metaphysical. Through their unusual angle of view and the complete absence of human beings, even those interiors with which we are altogether familiar seem strange and extraordinary. It is precisely this phenomenon which is the hallmark of Candida Höfer’s work.