candida höfer: a return to italy

do candida höfer’s photographs make you want to travel?  they make me want to explore europe, even though i just got back from london, where candida höfer: a return to italy is showing at ben brown fine arts from 12 february-12 april 2013.

you may recognize candida höfer’s photographs from one of your favorite american lifestyle or shelter magazines, such as town and country, elle decor, or veranda. 

candida höfer photograph | cosima von bulow pavoncelli’s living room | sagoponak, NY | interior design by markham roberts

photo credit francesco lagnese | town and country magazine | november 2010

candida höfer photograph | frederic fekkai’s living room | new york, NY | interior design by robert couturier

photo credit william abranowicz | elle decor | october 2010

candida höfer photograph | jill stuart’s living room | new york, NY | design by anabelle selldorf

photo credit simon upton | elle decor | october 2009

candida höfer photograph | entry of a carnegie hill townhouse | new york, NY  | interior design by timothy whealon

photo credit max kim-bee | veranda | october 2010

höfer’s photographs are interior portraits of public buildings.

‘i wanted to capture how people behave in public buildings,

so I started taking photographs of theatres, palaces, opera houses, libraries…

after some time, it became apparent to me that what people do in these spaces

–and what these spaces do to them

–is clearer when no one is present…’ 

-candida höfer

höfer’s photographs of uninhabited interiors have become her hallmark.

in an interview with the guardian, she described teatro scientifico bibiena mantova I as her ‘best shot’ in the london exhibition.

candida höfer | teatro scientifico bibiena mantova I | 2010 | lightjet print | edition of 6

photo courtesy of ben brown fine arts

‘i like this shot because it has an intriguing ambiguity of scale:

the theatre appears large yet somehow small;

and it is perfectly formed of grand individual structures.

this is not a shot about emotion.

it’s about colour, lines, light distribution

–and inner balance.’

-candida höfer

höfer doesn’t alter or digitally enhance her photographs.  instead, she uses existing light sources and long exposures to capture the details.

candida höfer | teatro scientifico bibiena mantova III | 2010 | lightjet print | edition of 6

photo courtesy of ben brown fine arts

she often shoots her interior portraits from a one point perspective.  this composition, which is another one of her hallmarks, creates continuity within and between each portrait series.  in addition to the compositional continuity, each series also has an institutional or a geographical theme.  the london exhibition is a grand tour of northern italian architecture:

mantova

candida höfer | palazzo ducale mantova III | 2011 | c print | edition of 6

photo courtesy of ben brown fine arts

candida höfer | palazzo ducale mantova I | 2011 | lightjet print | edition of 6

photo courtesy of ben brown fine arts

candida höfer | palazzo ducale mantova IV | 2011 | lightjet print | edition of 6

photo courtesy of ben brown fine arts

candida höfer | palazzo ducale mantova V | 2011 | lightjet print | edition of 6

photo courtesy of ben brown fine arts

candida höfer | biblioteca teresiana mantova I | 2010 | lightjet print | edition of 6

photo courtesy of ben brown fine arts

candida höfer | museo civico di palazzo te mantova IV | 2010 | lightjet print | edition of 6

photo courtesy of ben brown fine arts

vicenza

candida höfer | teatro olimpico vicenza I | 2010 | lightjet print | edition of 6

photo courtesy of ben brown fine arts

candida höfer | teatro olimpico vicenza II | 2010 | lightjet print | edition of 6

photo courtesy of ben brown fine arts

candida höfer | teatro olimpico vicenza III | 2010 | lightjet print | edition of 6

photo courtesy of ben brown fine arts

sabbioneta

candida höfer | teatro all’antica sabbioneta I | 2010 | lightjet print | edition of 6

photo courtesy of ben brown fine arts

candida höfer | galleria degli antichi sabbioneta I | 2010 | lightjet print | edition of 6

photo courtesy of ben brown fine arts
carpi

candida höfer | teatro comunale di carpi III | 2011 | lightjet print | edition of 6

photo courtesy of ben brown fine arts

candida höfer | teatro comunale di carpi I | 2011 | lightjet print | edition of 6

photo courtesy of ben brown fine arts
venezia

candida höfer | teatro la fenice di venezia V | 2011 | c print | edition of 6

photo courtesy of ben brown fine arts

candida höfer | teatro la fenice di venezia III | 2011 | c print | edition of 6

photo courtesy of ben brown fine arts

wouldn’t you love to take a grand tour of northern italy?  especially, the palladian villas of the veneto?

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