KUKJE GALLERY
Candida Höfer
Jan 25, 2008 - Feb 26, 2008
K2 Seoul
Introduction
Publications
Artist
 

Over the past thirty years, Candida Höfer has been interested in “public spaces,” focusing on the interiors of libraries, museums, opera theatres, palaces, banks and churches spread throughout many cities in the world. In representing these spaces Höfer distinguishes herself by excluding the presence of people and dealing with the implied relationship between space and its inhabitants. The interior spaces that she captures are typically seen as centers of cultural activities, accustomed to being filled with visitors. Thus, the absence of people in these spaces evokes an unnatural feeling in the viewers, functioning as an ironical yet significant reminder of the core existence of human beings.
While the presence of human beings is missing in Höfer’s photographs, it is by no means an empty space that she portrays. According to Höfer, her spaces are animated by light, form, pattern, and references to the human presence, which can be felt if not seen. Truly enough, her photographs impart considerable importance to the subtleness of color and light, structural aesthetic of form and perspective, and detailed surface textures. Thus, another distinguishing feature of Candida Höfer’s photographs is that it carries with it a remarkably rich yet delicate aesthetic sensibility. The geometrical forms of circle, half-circle, and triangles that are repeated in patterns and the soft light that subtly encompasses the harmonious colors create an abstractly beautiful surface.
Born in Eberswalde, near Berlin, in 1944, Candida Höfer attended the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf where she studied film with Ole John and photography with Bernd Becher. Since 1975, she has participated in numerous group as well as solo exhibitions. She was included in Documenta 11 in Kassel in 2002, and represented Germany at the Venice Biennale in the following year, together with the late Martin Kippenberger. In 2006 she had a solo show at the Louvre Museum where she presented her works based on the interior spaces of the museum itself. Since her first show in 2005, this is her second solo show at Kukje Gallery.
Another effect of the absence of people is the perfect and idealistic creation of a space that purely preserves the concept of systematic order. Paradoxically, in order to create an ideal space that is primitively tranquil, pure and sublime, human beings that create and utilize that space must disappear from the scene. Human existence ultimately creates noise, dust and waste, inevitably intervening with emotions and stories. In Höfer’s works, everything that is transient, fragmentary and unpredictable is gone with the elimination of human beings.
Her work seems to be based on the belief that the space has affected the people who had loitered and passed by it over time, while the space in turn has been influenced by the collective way of thinking of its inhabitants.
While the presence of human beings is missing in Höfer’s photographs, it is by no means an empty space that she portrays. According to Höfer, her spaces are animated by light, form, pattern, and references to the human presence, which can be felt if not seen. Truly enough, her photographs impart considerable importance to the subtleness of color and light, structural aesthetic of form and perspective, and detailed surface textures. Thus, another distinguishing feature of Candida Höfer’s photographs is that it carries with it a remarkably rich yet delicate aesthetic sensibility. The geometrical forms of circle, half-circle, and triangles that are repeated in patterns and the soft light that subtly encompasses the harmonious colors seem more than sufficient to create an abstractly beautiful picture plane.
As she forgoes any staging of the locations and photographs the raw space itself, Höfer attaches importance to the conflicting yet harmonious relationships created by the various elements that dwell in it. This results from a balancing act between a variety of oppositions or tensions. While the libraries, churches, palaces, and museums portrayed in her works are principally public spaces open to anyone, the activities enacted in these spaces such as reading, praying or appreciating a performance or an artwork are ultimately very personal experiences. Consequently, the public spaces are an accumulation of numerous personal experiences. Human presence, if not physically revealed, is implied or suggested in a subtle yet significant way. In addition, while the architectural aesthetic of space is maximized through the dramatic perspective, it visually exudes a sense of beautiful abstract surface at the same time. Strict symmetry and stable balance brings harmony to the tension created by the enhanced perspective. The simple and geometric structure coexists with the lavish and elaborate detail.
Höfer usually does not remain for more than a couple of hours at the location of photographing in order to prevent subjective emotions from entering her work. This is also the reason that she simply employs the name of the buildings she photographs as the title of her works. The intention of the artist is to maintain objectivity without affecting the spectator’s personal appreciation and translation. Her space encompasses various complex personal experiences through its public quality and is humanized through its relationship with people. In the same manner, Höfer’s photographic work bears an organic relationship with its viewers continuously creating new experiences, conversations and spaces.


칸디다 회퍼는 지난 30여 년간 “공적인 장소”에 관심을 가져 왔다. 그녀의 작품은 일관 되게 세계 곳곳에 흩어져 있는 공공도서관, 박물관, 오페라 극장, 궁전, 은행, 교회 등의 내부 공간을 다루어 왔다. 이 공간들을 재현함에 있어 회퍼는 특히 인물의 존재를 배제하는 방법을 통해 공간과 그 내부에 거주하는 인간의 관계를 암시적으로 드러내는데 주력한다. 그녀가 다루는 이런 공간들은 인간의 다양한 문화활동이 축적된 공공장소들로 일반적으로 수많은 방문객으로 가득한 모습이 더 익숙하게 느껴지는 곳들이다. 따라서 이런 공간 속에 인물이 부재한 것은 오히려 부자연스러운 느낌을 주면서 이 모든 것을 만들어낸 주체이자 그 속을 걸어 다니는 인간의 존재를 의미심장하게 연상시킨다.
회퍼의 사진은 인간의 존재가 빠졌을 뿐, 절대로 비어 있는 공간이 아니다. 그것은, 작가의 말에 의하면, 빛과 형태와 색채, 패턴, 그리고 인간존재의 흔적으로 가득한 공간이다. 실제로 그녀의 사진은 색채와 빛, 형태의 구조적 아름다움과 원근법, 표면의 질감 등에 상당한 중요성을 부여한다. 이렇듯 칸디다 회퍼 사진의 또 다른 특징은 놀라울 정도로 섬세한 미학적인 감수성을 지닌다는 점이다. 원과 반원, 사각형, 삼각형 등의 기하학적 형태가 패턴처럼 반복되고, 부드러운 빛이 조화로운 색채를 자연스럽게 감싸는 회퍼의 사진은 평면상의 추상적 요소만으로도 시각적으로 아름다운 화면을 이룬다.
1944년, 베를린 근교의 에버스발데에서 태어난 칸디다 회퍼는 뒤셀도르프 쿤스트아카데미를졸업했다. 학교를 다니는 동안 그녀는 올레 존에게서 영화를 배웠으며, 베른트 베허의 사진학 강의를 들었다. 회퍼는 1975년에 활동을 시작한 이후로 수많은 개인전 및 그룹 전에 참여해왔다. 대표적인 예로, 2002년에는 11회 카셀 도큐멘타에 참여했고, 그 이듬해인 2003년에는 베니스 비엔날레에서 고(故) 마틴 키펜베르거와 함께 독일관을 대표했다. 2006년에는 루브르 박물관 개인전을 통해 박물관 전시장 내부를 촬영한 작품들을 선보이기도 했다. 국제갤러리의 이번 전시는 2005년의 첫번째 개인전 이후 두 번째 전시이다.