100 DAYS, 100 WORKS: CANDIDA HÖFER'S EMPTY SPACES

In the loneliness of abandoned spaces, Candida Höfer finds her very own approach to human life and casts an incorruptibly timeless gaze on a reality that most viewers of her images were previously unaware of. For Candida Höfer, it is not the people themselves who are interesting, but the spaces they create and use. She tries to fathom their form and structure with her pictures and make them visible to a growing audience, thereby creating a certain atmosphere that has become part of Höfer’s distinctive style.  

Candida Höfer’s interest for photography continuously grew from an early age on, but it was only relatively late, at the age of over 30, that she was able to attend Bernd Becher's famous photography class at the Düsseldorf Academy, before she studied artistic photography with Arno Jansen. While some of her early works still feature people, in later years, Candida Höfer increasingly abandoned human motifs until she finally found her essential subject in empty space.  

Interiors are in focus in Höfer’s pictures, but never private, rather public or semi-public spaces: they can be iconic spaces, masterpieces of architecture, or simply spaces of the everyday that would normally receive little attention. The results of Höfer's work sometimes seem melancholic, radiating an oppressive loneliness, but they also allow a new look at seemingly familiar structures. By avoiding people and excluding them from her paintings, the artist succeeds in creating an entirely new kind of approach. In more recent works Höfer also reaches an abstract level, bringing details to the fore and questioning their significance for the identity of the space. 

When Candida Höfer participated at documenta 11 in 2002, the artist showed the work series “Die Bürger von Calais” consisting of 13 photographs of the twelve casts of the sculpture Auguste Rodins. For this project, the photographer was commissioned by the city of Calais to spend a year traveling to the sites of the twelve casts and photographing them: Lyon, New York, Seoul, London, Pasadena, Tokyo, Basel, Washington, Paris, Philadelphia, Mariemont (Belgium), Copenhagen and, of course, Calais. 

Candida Höfer's work "Der Römer" is part of “100 days, 100 works – documenta artists (re-) discovered”-collection on misa.art, which releases one artwork by documenta-exhibited artists during this year's documenta fifteen. 

CREDITS: 
Portrait picture: IKS Medienarchiv, 
Candida Höfer im Museum Morsbroich, 2009
Candida Höfer, Biblioteca dei Girolamini Napoli 
Candida Höfer, Archivo General de Indias Sevilla IV 2010
Candida Höfer, Bibliothèque de CNAM PAris II, 2007

BUY NOW