Candida Höfer: Architecture of AbsenceMay 3- July 30, 2006
The Institute of Contemporary Art is pleased to present an exhibition of the work of German artist Candida Höfer (b.1944, Eberswalde, Germany). "Candida Höfer: Architecture of Absence" is a touring exhibition organized by the University Art Museum, California State University, and the Norton Museum of Art. The Institute of Contemporary Art is the only northeast venue for this show.
This exhibition surveys over thirty years of work. It consists of 38 chromogenic prints, all of which have been borrowed directly from the artist's studio and her gallery in Cologne. It includes iconic works that have never been shown in the United States as well as the artist's recent and ongoing projects.
Candida Höfer photographs rooms in public places that are centers of cultural life, such as libraries, museums, theaters, cafés, universities, as well as historic houses and palaces. Each meticulously composed space is marked with the richness of human activity, yet largely devoid of human presence. Whether it be a photograph of a national library or a hotel lobby, Höfer's images ask us to conduct a distanced, disengaged examination through the window she has created. Not purely architectural photographs, her rhythmically patterned images present a universe of interiors constructed by human intention, unearthing patterns of order, logic, and disruption imposed on these spaces by absent creators and inhabitants. Her photos of ornate, baroque interiors achieve images with extreme clarity and legibility while the camera maintains an observant distance, never getting too close to its subject.
Artforum art critic Hans Rudolf Reus writes of her work, "Only when observed can the elements of the photographically frozen moment in the building finally begin to play. At the same time, memories of familiar rooms and the odor of the unlimited archive of libraries, museums, and theater foyers mix themselves into even the occasional image of a contemporary building." The New York Times art critic Michael Kimmelman writes, "Ms. Höfer is a straight photographer whose humanity and improvisatory spirit come across if we are patient enough to appreciate the serendipity of her light, the subtlety of her color and the quiet, melancholy pleasure she seems to take in finding, as if almost by chance, poetry in institutional form."
"Candida Höfer: Architecture of Absence" examines Höfer's unique oeuvre and the relationship of her architecture work to that of the Becher Circle-noted students of the Düsseldorf Art Academy's renowned professors Bernd and Hilla Becher, including Thomas Ruff, Thomas Struth, Andreas Gursky, and Axel H ütte. Höfer studied photography under Bernd Becher from 1976 until 1982. Since 1975 she has had solo exhibitions in museums throughout Europe and the United States, including the Kunsthalle in Basel and Bern, Portikus in Frankfurt am Main, the Hamburger Kunsthalle, and the Power Plant in Toronto. She has participated in group exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Kunsthaus Bregenz, the Museum Ludwig, Cologne, and Documenta 11. She represented Germany at the Venice Biennale (together with the late Martin Kippenberger) and is represented by galleries in Europe and the United States. She lives and works in Cologne, Germany.
This exhibition is accompanied by a catalog published by the Aperture Foundation which features over 50 color plates and includes illustrated essays by Constance W. Glenn, Emeritus Director of the University Art Museum, California State University, Long Beach; Mary-Kay Lombino, former Curator of Exhibitions at the University Art Museum, currently Curator at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College; and Virginia Heckert, former William and Sarah Ross Sofer, Curator of Photography at the Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida, currently Associate Curator at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. This is the first major English-language examination of Hofer's work.
Installation views at ICA. Photos by Aaron Igler. > click to enlarge
This exhibition travels to two additional venues:
- Museum of Art, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
September 14, 2006 - January 6, 2007
- Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville, Tennessee
February 23 - May 20, 2007
"Candida Höfer: Architecture of Absence" is co-organized by the University Art Museum, California State University, Long Beach, and the Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida. In addition to these two venues, the exhibition tour, which extends through 2007, includes the Frye Art Museum, Seattle; the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; the Museum of Art, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah; and the Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville, Tennessee. The exhibition is funded, in part, by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, and the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e.V. in Stuttgart, Germany.
ICA is grateful for the generous support of The Honickman Foundation. Additional support has been provided by The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The Dietrich Foundation Inc., the Overseers Board for the Institute of Contemporary Art, friends and members of ICA, and the University of Pennsylvania. ICA is also grateful for in-kind support from Loews Philadelphia Hotel. (Information complete as of 3/1/06.)
Images, top to bottom:
Candida Höfer, U-Bahnstation Theaterplatz, Oslo II, 2000.