candida höfer: reviving the past through the eyes of the present

If you’ve been reading me for some time, you know I have a tremendous love and appreciation for the arts and design of the past, particularly if one can strike a good balance with the arts of our lifetime to make our comfortable modern lifestyle meaningful.  So it’s no secret that prodigious Cologne-based photographer Candida Höfer is one of my all time favorite artists.

Candida studied under Bern Becher and shares that common bond with Thomas Struth, Thomas Ruff and Andreas Gursky, all of whom are maestros of large format interior photography.  What distinguishes Candida from the rest of her peers is her technical perfection, saturated colors and extraordinary detail of the EMPTY social spaces she is photographing – be it a museum, library or opera house – capturing, if you will, the forgotten essence of a room. It’s as if she is branding the buildings anew, giving them a 21st century status that many have lost over the years because of our contemporary indifference to our historical past and our present enthusiastic fascination with the modern works of superstar architects and designers from Santiago Calatrava to Philippe Starck.
While her straight front angle approach is stunningly modern, it remains hauntingly chilly and detached.  Perhaps it’s her way of revealing the beauty of the details in the structure at their purest, forcing the viewer to appreciate these without being subconsciously distracted by other elements such as the angle of the shot, lighting in the room and people in the space.  I totally say, thumbs up!
You can watch the artist describe her work in this short You-Tube video:
image credits: © Candida Höfer.  The artists is represented by the Sonnabend Gallery, New York; the Yvon Lambert Gallery, Paris; the Johnen Galerie, Berlin; and the Kukje Gallery, Seoul.
(top) Trinity College Library, Dublin
(bottom) Salone di Castel Capuano, Naples
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Note: If you happen to be in New York, don’t miss the opportunity to attend the annual AIPAD (The Association of International Photography Art Dealers) held at the Park Avenue Armory Thurs 29 March – Sunday 1 April. Without doubt one of the top Photography shows in the world.