Showing and Seeing
Ben Brown Fine Arts is proud to present an exhibition of selected works by esteemed gallery artist Candida Höfer at the London gallery from 28 November 2019 to 25 January 2020. Höfer's most iconic, superlative images of libraries and theatres, from locations in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico and Russia, have been brought together to exemplify the artist's mastery in depicting sublime, grand spaces with inimitable technical virtuosity. This will be the artist's tenth solo exhibition at Ben Brown Fine Arts, having been the first artist exhibited at the gallery upon its opening in London in 2004.
Included in the exhibition is a newly released work, Bolshoi Teatr Moskwa II 2017, from a series in Moscow commissioned by The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, following Höfer's successful collaboration with the museum in 2015. La Salle Labrouste - La Bibliothèque de L'INHA Paris III 2017, exhibited for the first time with the gallery, depicts the fanciful vaulted ceilings and naturalistic frescoes of the library of the National Institute of Art History in Paris, juxtaposed with rigid diagonal rows of desks and bookshelves. Another majestic library work included in the selection is Benediktinerstift Admont III 2014, a remarkable photograph that encompasses the late-Baroque ceiling frescoes, ornate gilded architecture, patterned floor tiles and abundant bookshelves of a monastic library in Austria.
Höfer is distinguished for her steadfast dedication to documenting imposing, sumptuous, historically significant public spaces around the world. She has found inspiration in the world's most spectacular libraries, churches, museums, theatres, universities and palaces, where she composes her awe-inspiring photographs that celebrate the architecture, design, workmanship and cultural richness of each of her subjects. Her works are notably devoid of people, focusing instead on the elaborate details of these stately spaces, yet they all undeniably suggest a richness and flurry of human activity as either contemporary or historic centres of cultural activity. The photographs are always composed in either a fully frontal, symmetrical fashion or at a deliberate angle, typically flooded with light and dazzling colour. It is this objective, disengaged manner of tireless documentation that was clearly informed by Bernd and Hilla Becher. Höfer trained under Bernd Becher at the Düsseldorf Art Academy in the 1970s and along with Thomas Ruff was the first of their students to show photographs in color.