Candida Hofer presents portraits of public spaces through lens of absence

German artist Candida Höfer's 'Stiftsbibliothek St.Gallen III' (2021) is one of 14 photographs on view as part of her solo exhibition, 'RENASCENCE,' at Kukje Gallery in central Seoul. Courtesy of the artist, Kukje Gallery

Candida Höfer is a photographer who specializes in portraiture with a twist. Her subjects aren’t faces, but vast, empty spaces, where wear and tear merely hint at human presence without ever revealing the actual occupants.For the last five decades, the German photographer has trained her lens on the deserted interiors of public buildings around the world, where time seems to stand still. From the 16th-century Olympic Theater in Italy and the National Library of France to the State Hermitage Museum in Russia and the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico, she has immortalized their silent stories within her strikingly restrained compositions.

In her new exhibition, “RENASCENCE,” at Kukje Gallery in central Seoul, Höfer documents four sites that embody a sense of revival in one way or another. Some have been reborn after centuries through renovations during the COVID-19 pandemic, while others have been revisited as her photographic subjects after 20 years. The spiritual aura emanating from the photographed museum, opera house and abbey library, showcased across the gallery’s two floors, is captured through the same signature methodology that has guided her practice for decades.She minimizes her own intervention by foregoing any lighting equipment during the shoot and refraining from post-processing. Instead, she relies solely on naturally available light, long exposures and her keen eye for detail to convey the essence of absence at the 스포츠토토존 moment.

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