Johnen + Schöttle

Candida Höfer

09 Dec 2006 - 27 Jan 2007


After having had their premier at Musée du Louvre itself Candida Höfer is showing her large-scale photographs taken at the Louvre museum for the first time in Germany at Johnen + Schöttle gallery. The Louvre works form a new series of works that negotiate the visual characteristics of a cultural institution whose name is a synonym for the traditional museum of fine arts.
Candida Höfer is focussing on the main galleries of the vast collection as well as on most recently restructured or re-opened theme halls. As usual in Candida Höfer’s work the displayed spaces are presented in a state that excludes any human being. Thus the museum as a cultural organism that is consciously organised, formed and developed becomes the core of the photographs and it becomes the centre of the artist’s as well as of the viewer’s attention.
The classical Grand Galerie which always has not only been considered as a treasury of fine arts but also as a source of artistic inspiration has been taken as well as the 19th century halls that are impressively putting in scene the myth of birth of the French nation succeeding the grand revolution. The more moderate designed halls for Greek antiquity appear in formal clarity while the pompous Galerie d’Apollon features the glory of Absolutism and the view on Leonardo’s La Gioconda in isolation proves its status as a fetish of cultural consumerism.
The central perspective applied to the representation of the galleries is creating a formal coherence that allows to focus on their specifics and on their functional effectivity. The space is gathered as a being, not only the architecture and its decoration are relevant to the artist’s eye but also their co-relation with the artworks displayed within this context.
The effect is a monumental one but it is especially the proportional relation with the exhibits that activates the visual power of Candida Höfer’s works. It is about conquering a clear and essential position towards the space, about an encounter with architecture as a complex cultural and social compound. And there is something mysterious remaining within Candida Höfer’s works caused by her special approach to her subject which is differing from ordinary perception in an astonishing way.
The works from Louvre museum are following a series shot at another Parisian institution of high culture, those of Opéra de Paris showing interiors from both Palais Garnier and Opéra Bastille. Candida Höfer is thus continuing her artistic project of a visual encyclopedia on institutional spaces that are linked with the connotation of the cultural. She is investigating the field her work itself is deriving from and by clarifying the extreme temporaneity of this world she herself is adding another component of time to it.

© Candida Höfer
Musée du Louvre Paris
ca. 200 x 240 cm
C-Print, framed
Edition of 6

Tags: Candida Höfer