Born in Eberswalde, Germany in 1944, Candida Höfer attended the Kunstacademie Düsseldorf from 1973 to 1982. Whilst there she studied film with the Danish filmmaker Ole John and photography under the influential photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher, who also taught noted Düsseldorf School photographers Andreas Gursky, Thomas Struth, Axel Hütte and Thomas Ruff.
Known for her meticulously composed, large-scale color images of architectural interiors, Höfer’s oeuvre explores the structure, presentation, and influence of space. Interested in the psychological impact of design and the contrast between a room’s intended and actual use, Höfer has focused her lens on cultural and institutional buildings such as libraries, hotels, museums, concert halls, and palaces. Whilst devoid of people, the images allow us to consider the role of their missing inhabitants. The large-scale nature of the work invites the viewer to linger over the architectural details and contemplate the subtle shifts in light that make up the character of the space.
On her decision to exclude people from her photographs, Höfer has said, “…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, just as an absent guest is often the subject of a conversation.”
Höfer's internationally recognized work has been shown in solo exhibitions at the Kunsthalle in Basel and in Berne; the Museum Folkwang in Essen; the Louvre in Paris; the North Carolina Museum of Art; the Museo Amparo, Mexico; the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia; the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; and the Kunstmuseum Luzerne, Switzerland. Her work has also appeared in group exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Power Plant, Toronto; Kusthaus Bregenz; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao; and Documenta XI, Kassel. Höfer represented Germany at the 2003 Venice Biennale. In 2018, the Sony World Photography Awards recognized Candida Höfer for her outstanding contribution to photography. Her photographs are in major public and private collections worldwide.
Candida Höfer lives and works in Cologne, Germany.
Artist Talk—Candida Höfer: Turks in Germany 1979. Harvard Art Museums. October 1, 2019.
Through the Lens of Candida Hofer, Aug. 8, 2010