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Candida Höfer documents semperoper in Dresden

The photographer Candida Höfer / Photo: Jörg Carstensen/dpa
The photographer Candida Höfer / Photo: Jörg Carstensen/dpa

German photographer Candida Höfer shows deserted rooms at the Semperoper in Dresden in 14 new works. The exhibition 'Candida Höfer: Contexts. A Dresden Reflection' shows large-format photographs in dialog with works from the Kupferstich-Kabinett Dresden.

In the course of her Dresden project, the German photographer Candida Höfer has documented the very worst in 14 new works: The main stage, auditorium and workshops of the Semperoper deserted. The world-famous opera house was still missing from her icons of the city of culture, said Herbert Burkert from the Candida Höfer Foundation at the presentation in Dresden on Thursday. The 80-year-old, who is one of the best-known representatives of the Düsseldorf School of Photography, famous for its cool objectivity, only said: "The reference came about because I took photographs there." And left open whether the project is now complete.

The exhibition "Candida Höfer: Contexts. A Dresden Reflection" will be showing Höfer's large-format photographs from the Saxon State Opera from Friday until July 21. Until July 21, they will be in dialog with woodcuts, engravings and etchings by Albrecht Dürer, Daniel Hopfer or Giovanni Battista Piranesi from the collection of the Dresden Kupferstich-Kabinett - of stage-like architecture or scenes in workshops of the Renaissance and Enlightenment.

The pictures in the Semperoper were taken last summer, at the beginning of the theater vacations, reported director Peter Theiler. They showed the house, which is actually always full, from an interesting perspective and its architectural beauty, which is rare. "We perform almost every day and when we're not performing, we're rehearsing," he explained. Only at the end of the season are these rooms deserted for a while, or for a few hours at night. In 2000, Höfer had already photographed in the Schauspielhaus, the State Library and museums of the State Art Collections.

Höfer, who is extremely reluctant to be in the limelight, comes from Brandenburg. She studied at the Düsseldorf Art Academy from 1973 and was part of the first generation of artists in Bernd and Hilla Becher's class, which is now considered the international photographic avant-garde of post-war modernism. The artist lives and works in Cologne. She exhibited at the documenta in 2002 and represented Germany at the Venice Biennale the following year. Her works can be seen in collections in Germany and abroad.

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