Candida Höfer “RENASCENCE” at Kukje Gallery, Seoul

By Last Updated: June 27, 2024Views: 19

“I need to present what isn’t just trendy however to point out one thing that holds eternity.”
Candida Höfer

“RENASCENCE” is a solo exhibition of latest works by the internationally celebrated artist Candida Höfer. 4 years because the artist’s solo exhibition within the gallery’s Busan house, this exhibition options 14 works chosen from her newest collection documenting historic buildings that underwent renovations throughout the pandemic, in addition to beforehand photographed websites the artist has revisited. Over the previous 5 a long time, Höfer has photographed the interiors of culturally important public areas around the globe, together with libraries, museums, and live performance halls together with her signature compositional precision and element. Höfer, who has targeted on an absence of inhabitants that inversely emphasizes wealthy social and historic implications of public areas, reveals a singular framing of worldwide adversities by way of a lens of restoration and renewal. 

The exhibition’s title “renascence,” which generally refers to a revival of what has turn into out of date, is located on the intersecting problems with the bodily and institutional “regeneration” of Western cultural areas with deep historic resonances and the “restoration” of the general public sphere after the paralysis attributable to the pandemic. In her pictures, the architectural renovations, which had already been underway because the 2010s for a number of the museums featured, have been carried out in strict accordance with restoration requirements, specializing in retaining traces of the previous whereas reorganizing the infrastructure to maintain up with right this moment’s necessities. Höfer‘s digital camera lens captures this restraint, framing the architects’ methodical method to the cautious restoration of those numerous cultural landmarks as illuminated by the artist’s goal and impartial gaze. On this gentle, her works will be seen as a spatial portrait of encounters between a variety of topics, together with the historical past of every constructing, the interventions of architects and establishments, and the artist’s personal aesthetic views. These thematic layers align with Höfer’s distinctive technical strategies—foregoing lighting gear and minimizing subjective intervention—that underscore her method to pictures as an investigation into public areas that exist as merchandise of human cultural actions. 

On the similar time, the works result in questions on institutional and social renewal of the general public sphere, analogized by the architectural renovations, and additional prolong to bigger considerations revolving across the sustainability of public establishments as they reply to shifting city ecologies and pressures highlighted by the pandemic and local weather change. By way of the values of renewal and regeneration provided in Höfer’s work, the exhibition encourages the viewer to reexamine these years of the pandemic—typically described when it comes to “rupture” or “hiatus”—as a time of continuity, during which traces of the previous are renewed and up to date in relation to the current and future. 

The primary ground of K2 shows alternatives from the collection specializing in adjustments (following renovation) within the inside house of the Carnavalet Museum (Musée Carnavalet) in Paris, France. Devoted to the historical past of Paris, the museum first opened to the general public in 1880 and consists of two neighboring mansions—the Sixteenth-century Renaissance-style Hôtel Carnavalet and the Seventeenth-century Hôtel Le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau. Starting in 2016, the museum, which boasts a wealthy custom, underwent a renovation led by Chatillon Architects with a concentrate on preserving the distinctive attraction of the place whereas establishing a extra coherent structure to accommodate extra guests. The museum has been operated by the town of Paris since its opening.

Upon her web site go to in 2020 forward of its reopening in 2021, Höfer paid consideration to the brand new serpentine steel-and-wood staircase from numerous angles as a visible motif that connects the multi-temporal fragments of the town’s historical past collected all through totally different ranges of the museum. By capturing the fashionable intervention as encapsulating the gathered layers of time, she encourages her viewers to understand the historical past of house based mostly on visible readability and compositional flatness. The staircase types a stark visible distinction with a mural depicting a dramatic and theatrical setting. Initially commissioned in 1925 for the ballroom of the Hôtel de Wendel, the mural decor of the ballroom was reinstalled on the museum in 1989 and restored throughout the renovation. Höfer’s works spotlight the standard of transparency and luminosity accentuated by the gold frames that encompass the various arched thresholds and the pure gentle flooding the house, whereas additionally reframing it with new spatial order by way of formal parts, such because the symmetrical composition and ornamental motifs. 

The theatrical ambiance emphasised by the visible parts of the purple curtain within the restored mural of the Carnavalet Museum continues within the collection of works depicting an empty stage and auditorium of the Komische Oper, one in all Berlin’s three main opera firms. The prevailing constructing of the opera home, which dates again to the late nineteenth century, was severely broken throughout the Second World Struggle and had been restored within the Sixties and 80s since its reopening underneath the present title in 1947. At present, the constructing is present process one other intensive renovation and enlargement course of, together with new services comparable to rehearsal rooms and backstage space. The Komische Oper Berlin 2022 collection was created from Höfer’s go to to the place in 2022, previous to the renovation which started in 2023. Whereas the collection depicts a portrait of house earlier than the adjustments, it leads the viewer to foretell what lies forward, for Höfer’s pictures function “carriers of time” each containing and transporting numerous traces of adjustments gathered because the unique development of the constructing. As such, the viewer turns into a witness to the adjustments harbored within the house seen by way of Höfer’s lens.

The second ground of K2 presents a collection of works targeted on the New Nationwide Gallery (Neue Nationalgalerie), a modernist landmark in Berlin, following its renovation. Often called the “temple of sunshine and glass,” the New Nationwide Gallery was constructed between 1965 and 1968 within the Kulturforum, West Berlin’s cultural and inventive district. Designed by the modernist grasp Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969), it’s thought-about an icon of twentieth-century structure. The museum constructing is a monumental work of genius that Mies van der Rohe gifted his house nation after 30 years of exile in the US, and it’s a fruits of his architectural philosophy “much less is extra” pursued all through his life. The museum just lately underwent a significant refurbishment underneath the lead architect David Chipperfield (b. 1953) based mostly on the precept of retaining “as a lot Mies as attainable.” The museum’s infrastructure was reorganized and strengthened by dismantling particular person elements of the constructing and returning them to their unique positions after a cleansing and restoration course of. Höfer visited the place in 2021, instantly after the refurbishment, and captured numerous elements of the renewed house whereas alluding to the traces of human actions implied, conversely, by their absence. Because the minimal intervention preserves the previous trajectories of pre-refurbishment guests and development staff alike, the work turns into a web site for intersections and coordination of assorted human actions. 

Additionally on show are alternatives from the Stiftsbibliothek St. Gallen 2021 collection, during which the artist revisits the Abbey Library of Saint Gall featured in her collection from 2001. The 2021 revisit of the positioning was a part of her preparation for Candida Höfer: Liechtenstein held on the Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein in Vaduz the next yr. The abbey, situated within the metropolis of St. Gallen, was thought-about one of the crucial essential monasteries in Europe, from its institution in 719 to its dissolution in 1805, and was extensively renovated within the Baroque model within the 18th century. In 1983, it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Web site. In her 2001 collection exhibiting the Abbey Library, Höfer’s digital camera highlights the inside corridor’s defining options, comparable to the frilly frescoes and the vaulted ceiling with Rococo molding, drawing the viewer’s consideration to the spatial order and programs for perpetuating the optimistic view of mental progress. The collection additional captures uncommon cases of holiday makers utilizing the library. In her revisit in 2021, she not solely excludes the component of human presence however highlights the empty inside house the place previous and current intersect. By focusing as an alternative on the traces of human exercise that after occupied the house and capturing the delicate atmospheric sensations that animate it, her formal rigor and emphasis on symmetry present a portrait of vacant public house that embodies an everlasting sense of time.

at Kukje Gallery, Seoul
till July 28, 2024


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