Candida Höfer is one of the most important photographers working on the international scene today. The subjects of her work are those public spaces which are typical of any European or North American context; they include outdoor urban spaces squares, streets or zoos. Most of the time however she depicts museums, galleries, public libraries, archives, board rooms, showrooms, bars, restaurants, warehouses and large industrial spaces.
These photographs show closed interiors without a view of the outside world, except for the occasional window in the background or a skylight, through which a little natural light is spread on the scene.
The people who normally work or use these spaces are absent here. But the lack of a human presence lends these photographs an unusual intensity and exalts their compositional strength.
The spaces that Candida Höfer depicts are concrete, full of signs and details, albeit minimal, of people’s lives. Her skilful and subtle arrangement of colours gives substance to the voids, and words to the muteness of these interiors. Even when the space as a whole is charged with a meaning, the importance of the object is never denied.
Candida Höfer’s position as a photographer, which draws its strength from a steadfast determination coupled with a laconic and coherent attitude, places her on slightly higher ground than the creator of these architectural environments.
Candida Höfer was born in Eberswalde, Germany, in 1944.
She studied at the Düsseldorf School of Art from 1973-1982, studying film under Ole John (1973-1976) and then photography under Bernd Becher (1976-1982). She represented Germany at the Venice Biennial in 2003.
She lives and works in Cologne.