Kukje Gallery is pleased to announce the third solo exhibition of the works of Candida Höfer, following her two previous exhibitions in 2005 and 2008. The exhibition includes 12 works from the Neues Museum Berlin series of 2009, along with selected works from 2010. Listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1999, the subject of the series, the Neues Museum, is a monumental historical building that features quintessential Prussian architectural style. The building was created between 1841 and 1859 - a span of 18 years - according to plans drawn by Friedrich August Stüler, and was severely damaged during World War II, after which it was left deserted for approximately 60 years. The building was finally renovated by English architect David Chipperfield when he won the competition for the rebuilding of the museum in 1997, and the museum officially reopened in 2009. Chipperfield’s restoration followed the building’s initial architectural pedigree with deliberate efforts to preserve the scars from a series of wars and ensuing reigns of East and West Germany. Höfer’s Neues Museum Berlin series is an opportunity to experience the spaces that occupy various points in time, encompassing our changing culture through remnants of the past merging with a contemporary interpretation of ancient architecture.
Candida Höfer (b. 1944), who currently lives and works in Cologne, was born in Eberswalde, Northeast Germany. She studied at the Kölner Werkschule and later attended the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf from 1973 to 1982, where she studied film for three years. She then switched her focus to the study of photography under Bernd Becher beginning in 1976. Höfer was among the first generation of the Becher circle, along with a number of influential contemporary photographers, such as Andreas Gursky, Thomas Struth and Thomas Ruff. Her highly individual typology relies on meticulous composition, not on mere aesthetics of architecture, and is obtained through her capturing of contained interior spaces with varied states of preservation. Her continued investigation of ‘human absence’ and ‘space’ is manifested through a series of photographs. The exhibition provides a valuable opportunity for the presentation of the artist’s approach to capturing aspects of many different locales that embody and represent contemporary culture.
Höfer has taken on copious subjects, photographing shared public spaces such as book stores, cafeterias, museums, offices, zoos, and libraries. The visual clarity that is based on composition is equally applied to the works’ captions, concisely indicating the subject space or building, location, and the date when photographed. It is formal and compositional, and not technical concerns that drive her practice. Höfer studiously chooses her subjects and depicts the objects and built environments in interior spaces not as mere physical constructs, but as representations of the accumulation of time and the modern man-made manifestations inside architecture and its interior spaces.
Höfer held her first solo exhibition at the Konrad Fischer Galerie, Düsseldorf, in 1975. Since then, she has exhibited her works in major museums internationally, including a solo exhibition at Musée du Louvre, her first solo exhibition in North America, Architecture of Absence at Norton Museum of Art, the Kunsthalle Basel, the Power Plant in Toronto, and most recently solo exhibitions at the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Carnegie Museum of Art. Also, she was included in Documenta 11 (2002), organized by Okwui Enwezor, and was commissioned by the Musée des Beaux-Arts, where she photographed 12 casts of Rodin’s The Burghers of Calais in museums and private collections. In 2003, she represented the German pavilion at Venice Biennale (2003), together with Martin Kippenberger. From 2004 to 2007, she traveled to different parts of the world to photograph conceptual artist On Kawara's Date Paintings, included in private collections.
Candida Höfer’s work is represented in permanent museum collections worldwide, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Harvard University Art Museum, Cambridge; the Andalusian Contemporary Art Center, Seville, Spain; the Paris National Library; the Centre George Pompidou, Paris; the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin; the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; the Kunsthalle Nürnberg; and the Tate Modern, London.