By Michael Krüger. Thames & Hudson, 2003.256pp. £48
Candida Höfer's photographs, primarily of interiors, often appear in museums, writes Andrew Mead, but, unostentatious and usually few in number, they can easily be overlooked. Seen in quantity, however, in this Thames & Hudson monograph, and sequenced in the way that they are, they become much more compelling.
Höfer is yet another student of Bernd Becher (along with Andreas Gursky, Thomas Struth and Thomas Ruff, whose photographs all now command such extraordinary prices), and for 30 years has approached her subjects with a similar 'objectivity' to that of Becher and his wife Hilla in their inventory of a vanishing industrial world.
There are many well-known buildings here (Mies'Berlin Nationalgalerie, Zumthor's Kunsthaus Bregenz and Asplund's Stockholm library among them) but Höfer avoids 'classic'viewpoints and doesn't try to glamorise or dramatise. The effect on the viewer is not estrangement exactly, but momentary disorientation (where are we? ), which is reinforced by the sequencing (presumably sanctioned by Höfer), continually shuffling images that must once have been in series.
So instead of the museums, libraries, auditoria (or whatever) being collocated, they are intermingled, and the same building, seen from a slightly different angle, may crop up 50 pages later;
and periods are scrambled, too - turn a page and you plunge from today into the Baroque. With these elisions and near-repetitions, and sense of deferred arrival, the logic is definitely dream-like:
perpetual motion with which the book's many corridors and staircases collude.