Buildings as containers – Photos as surface

Campo Santo Pisa, 1985. 15 x 22 1/2 inches. Courtesy of the artist. Copyright © 2004 Candida Höfer / Artists Rights Society (ARS)… Candida Höfer

The message of the photographs “…buildings as containers for the diverse cultural traditions enacted within them. “

From a write up on the Retrospective of German Photographer Candida Hofer. “Candida Höfer: Architecture of Absence,” on view at the Brigham Young University Museum of Art from Sept. 15, 2006 through Jan. 6, 2007.

“Candida Höfer is the senior member of a group of students from the Düsseldorf Academy who studied under the renowned professor Bernd Becher in the 1970s and 1980s. The work that emanated from the academy, considered the most influential German art school of the time, and Becher’s classes, soon took the art-photography world by storm. “

Sometimes a simple sentence fragment can lead to a certain obvious clarity – what do our buildings say about us?

From ICA: (Copyright © 2000-2006, Institute of Contemporary Art.)

Candida Höfer photographs rooms in public places that are centers of cultural life, such as libraries, museums, theaters, cafés, universities, as well as historic houses and palaces. Each meticulously composed space is marked with the richness of human activity, yet largely devoid of human presence. Whether it be a photograph of a national library or a hotel lobby, Höfer’s images ask us to conduct a distanced, disengaged examination through the window she has created. Not purely architectural photographs, her rhythmically patterned images present a universe of interiors constructed by human intention, unearthing patterns of order, logic, and disruption imposed on these spaces by absent creators and inhabitants. Her photos of ornate, baroque interiors achieve images with extreme clarity and legibility while the camera maintains an observant distance, never getting too close to its subject.


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