ParisCandida Höfer, Paris: Faces des Espaces
VNH Gallery presents the solo exhibition by German artist Candida Höfer entitled “Paris: Faces des Espaces”.
Comprising a selection of new photographs made following her many visits to Paris, this exhibition is the result of a collaboration with the photographer whom we’ve accompanied to the high places of modern and contemporary architecture, each holding an essential place in French heritage and the history of architecture.
In the 70s, Candida Höfer was a student of photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher at the Academy of Fine Arts of Düsseldorf where she soon started developing the specific esthetic which consists in shooting buildings from the point of view of their interiors and where the human absence is surprising. Indeed, Candida Höfer sublimes theatres, libraries and empty churches through the effort of objectiveness and detachment, both being strong characteristics of the Düsseldorf School (Andreas Gursky, Thomas Struth, Thomas Ruff).
From the famous Parisian monuments such as the audacious Monnaie de Paris by architect Jacques-Denis Antoine and comissioned by Louis XV, finished in 1775 on Conti’s dock in the fifth district of the French capital, or the historic Labrouste room of the National Institute of History of Art’s library created by architect Henri Labrouste in 1860, to the buildings expressing a specific architectural style such as the renowned Maison de Verre by Pierre Chareau or the famous hôtel Martel by Robert Mallet Stevens, both built in the twenties, Candida Höfer offers us a journey through the history of Parisian architecture while emphasizing the stylistic characteristics of each construction.
From the Becher couple, Candida keeps this profound interest for buildings’ interior architecture – in opposition to the Bechers which solely took photographs of the exterior facades – giving the viewer this grandiose impression, outcome of the concern given to the lighting, the framing, the symmetries as well as to the harmony that are all inevitably emerge form this architectural masterpieces. Her great fascination for Le Corbusier’s work is here transcribed by the selection of many of his creations, from the Cité Refuge de l’Armée du Salut to the Maison La Roche or the Villa Savoye which also inspired her a few small abstract formats, here shown through an unprecedented dialogue with photographs that are more traditional of her artistic practice. Indeed, from their intimistic format to the poetic charge of their subject, this second series of photographs underlines another perspective of the photographer, with a much more personal purpose, as if the close range granted them an emotional dimension once confronted to the formal detachment of the larger formats.
Candida Höfer was born in 1944 in Eberswalde (Germany).
She currently lives and works in Cologne (Germany).
Courtesy of the artist & VNH Gallery. Photo by Claire Dorn