Colored Wood (2017)
The camera lens is a seemingly infinite architectural space capable of miniaturizing a world into a rectangular box and, when controlled correctly, that space offers a corresponding infinitum of texture and detail to its chosen subject. Recognized as a technical master of this medium, Candida Höfer rhymes the vastness of “real” architectural spaces with those provided by the mechanical apparatus itself to create stark portraits of (mostly uninhabited) spaces generally devoid of any vestige of the personal or anecdotal. Höfer’s "Colored Wood", 2017, is no exception in its technical virtuosity – the artist having framed the background and foreground in such claustrophobic proximity as to have effectively collapsed the distinction between the two. And yet this is a rare piece in Höfer’s oeuvre as it captures not a sweeping interior view, but rather an intimate detail thereof. The “colored wood” that is the work’s putative referent appears vertically across the plane of the print, building a syntax of painterly strokes: light blues, crimsons, a pea green, and finally, 70s-era glossy burnt umber wood. Between these vertical bands, a hazy reticulation unites the visual field. And here, the light seems to emerge from within the flat pictorial space rather than from somewhere outside the frame. At further remove, there is the faint outline of a window, and beside it, perhaps a table or graphic emblem, though it is impossible to say for sure. This is because all of Höfer’s usual grammar of spatial recession has been inverted in this work, giving us a penetrating exploration of the infinite layers of real and illusory depth that comprise the inscrutable photographic surface.
C-print, image size: 38 x 39.7 cm, paper size: 56 x 57.7 cm, edition: 100 + 30 A.P., numbered and signed on the back, € 890.00 plus shipping.