Candida Höfer: Contexts—A Dresden Reflection

Candida Höfer: Contexts—A Dresden Reflection

Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

Candida Höfer, Semper Oper Dresden V, 2023. © Candida Höfer / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2024.

March 22, 2024
Candida Höfer
Contexts—A Dresden Reflection
March 22–July 21, 2024
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Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
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An exhibition by the Research Department of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden in cooperation with the Semperoper Dresden at Kupferstich-Kabinett Dresden

“An image becomes a different image in a new context.” —Candida Höfer

The exhibition presents newly created and largescale images on Dresden’s opera house, the Semperoper, by Candida Höfer. They compose the Semper Oper Dresden project that continues the artist’s visual reflection on interior spaces, spatial patterns, and architectures of cultural representation worldwide. Her photographs of spaces of rehearsal, storage, infrastructure, labour, performance, and audience inside the opera house offer a lens to look at the historic collection of the Kupferstich-Kabinett.

Each of Höfer’s fourteen photographs imagines a specific context of her photographic-artistic practice: the history of its creation, the organization and technique of its production, cultural and scientific-historical backgrounds, anthropological and geographical references. They are exhibited in dialogue with woodcuts, copperplate engravings and etchings by Albrecht Dürer, Daniel Hopfer, and Giovanni Battista Piranesi, among others, of the Kupferstich-Kabinett. What they share is the capacity of the image to facilitate a reflection about space as a site of cultural rituals.

The dialog between Höfer’s works and the works in the collection connects photographic representations of space with historic printmaking. The juxtaposition of the artist’s visual grammar with the image-language of the Renaissance and Enlightenment emphasises differences as well as continuities of artistic practices in relation to the particularity of cultural and collection histories. The “contexts” exhibition, thus, also reflects on the museum as a place of research, collecting, categorizing, archiving, exhibiting, and working.

At the same time, due to the interventions by Kuehn Malvezzi architects at Kupferstich-Kabinett, the exhibition space becomes a context of its own. Through this interplay of different contexts, each image may retain the openness to interpretation that is characteristic of Höfer’s works.

The exhibition is curated by Doreen Mende in conversation with Herbert Burkert and the Kupferstich-Kabinett team.

Along the exhibition, the book Candida Höfer: Kontexte. Semper Opera Dresden is published in German and English by the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden with the Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther und Franz König, funded by the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation.

The Semper Opera Dresden edition, consisting of three motifs from Candida Höfer’s project, is available from Museis Saxonicis Usui Freunde Der Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen Dresden. For more information about the edition, please, contact freunde [​at​]

Candida Höfer (born in Eberswalde in 1944) In 1973, she was admitted to the Düsseldorf Art Academy, where she belonged to the first generation of artists studying in the class of Bernd and Hilla Becher, now regarded as the international photographic avant-garde of post-war modernism in Germany. In September 2024, she will be awarded the Käthe Kollwitz Prize of the Academy of Arts, Berlin, Germany. The artist lives in Cologne.



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March 22, 2024

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