Candida Höfer

Candida Höfer’s photographs reveal her interest in documenting collections of like things. Over the past twenty years, Höfer has created a systematic visual study of details within public spaces such as zoos, the interiors of office buildings, theaters, museums, and library reading rooms. Höfer’s straightforward and detached style at first seems clinical and purely documentary. Since the early 1980s people have been noticeably absent from Hofer’s photographs. Instead, she uses her camera to note repeated forms within public spaces such as furniture, lighting fixtures, ceiling or floor tiles, chairs, and tables, creating patterns and a sense of orderliness. Höfer also often emphasizes the ironic by drawing the viewer’s attention to things out of place. In Deutsche Bucherei Leipzig IX, the presence of people is strongly implied by the empty desks and lights, as well as by the books at the end of the room, evoking a sense of their purpose as vehicles of collected human history and knowledge.

Born in 1944 and raised in Eberswalde, Germany, Höfer currently lives and works in Cologne. Her works have been widely exhibited internationally: in Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, and the United States. In addition, her photographs are held in private and public collections worldwide, including those at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among many others.

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