Candida Höfer, Dominikanerkirche Sankt Andreas Düsseldorf II 2011 (2011), via Sean Kelly
On view this month at Sean Kelly in New York City, architect Toshiko Mori curates a show of works by the famed German photographer Candida Höfer. Known for her documentation and exploration of architectual structure, form and space, the exhibition performs an interesting double operation on the artist’s work, presenting her views of architectural space through the lens of one who designs these same environments.
The artist’s work is known for her exploration of architecture as a site of balance and negotiation, space and dimensionality, taking the architect’s vision and transmuting it into a still, silent visual medium, rendering in two-dimensions and distilling particular moments and vantage points into a new image. As Mori writes: “It is the ultimate wish of an architect to create an idealistic spatial experience for each project. We compose the aspirations of humanity into the static form of buildings by arranging proportion, detail, materiality, and sequencing into an orchestrated experience. Many times, we aspire to transcend further and transport inhabitants into the realms outside of daily life. These hidden agendas may not relate to the efficient function of buildings, but as architects, we can weave them into the programs of our architecture by adding to the breadth and depth of ineffable elements and creating silent yet visceral experiences of place.”
The curator and architect in turn explores Höfer’s own goal of transmuting and re-expressing that goal. “We may be visiting a concert hall, we may be reading in a library, or we may be in a place of worship,” she continues, “our present is always experienced emotionally and even spiritually. These are the moments which are often difficult, if not impossible, to describe.”
The artist’s work, presented in this vein, makes the most of a trained architect’s eye, culling together a series of images that speak to precise moments of transcendence and repose, calm or vivid energy, as embodied in architectural space and form. Often devoid of human presence, these images become an empty vessel for the imagination, a site where the space opens itself to the idea of events and times within it. Much in the way that the act of building and design subtly shapes our lives, Höfer’s work subtly brings that impact into view.
The show closes April 15th.
– D. Creahan
Candida Höfer at Sean Kelly [Exhibition Site]