Candida Höfer’s photographs reveal her interest in documenting collections of like things. Over the past twenty years, Höfer has created a systematic visual study of details within public spaces such as zoos, the interiors of office buildings, theaters, museums, and library reading rooms. Höfer’s straightforward and detached style at first seems clinical and purely documentary. Since the early 1980s people have been noticeably absent from Hofer’s photographs. Instead, she uses her camera to note repeated forms within public spaces such as furniture, lighting fixtures, ceiling or floor tiles, chairs, and tables, creating patterns and a sense of orderliness. Höfer also often emphasizes the ironic by drawing the viewer’s attention to things out of place. In Deutsche Bucherei Leipzig IX, the presence of people is strongly implied by the empty desks and lights, as well as by the books at the end of the room, evoking a sense of their purpose as vehicles of collected human history and knowledge.
(via Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago)
Candida Höfer has continued where the Bechers stopped: She has turned typological work into something that broad audiences can enjoy. I think that's mostly the case because of her introduction of colour and cultural places (in comparison to the trist industrial sites we are confronted with in the Bechers body of work)
The inspiration in this photo-set is not only the overall location Zeche Zollverein in Essen, Germany that was used as a Coal Mine Industrial Complex from 1851-1986, but also the newly constructed SANAA Gebäude (English: SANAA Building) with its original intent to be used as a place of education. Zollverein School houses its first exhibition, with 11 renowned photographers on show, including Bernd & Hilla Becher, Candida Höfer, Andreas Gursky and many others as part of the RuhrBlicke exhibition (previously covered by me HERE) that runs alongside the Ruhr.2010 Capital of Culture.
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Sadly, I have not been granted permission to take pictures within the building other than with my iPhone camera (which is fair enough really, seeing that Candida Höfer recently already has)
What's most interesting to me, is the fact that Candida Höfer took photos of the building and its interiors to exhibit within the SANAA Gebäude While it sounds like something that is hard to pull off, she really managed to make it work.