German, born 1944
“To me these spaces have their own character and vitality, revealing in their displays the layers of time and the experiences through which they have come to be what they are, and they seem to resist such changes….I probably emphasize a sort of ‘permanent process of negotiation’ between space and its uses over time, but also more basically between light and space.”
—Höfer interviewed by Ludovico Pratesi, 2009
Born in the former East German town of Eberswalde, Höfer began her artistic career as a commercial photographer for newspapers. She entered the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in 1973 to study film with the Danish cinematographer Ole John Poulsen (b. 1939). Three years later, at the age of 32, she transferred to Bernd Becher’s (1931–2007) photography class.
Following her studies, Höfer focused on portraits of so-called guest workers in Germany. Subsequently removing the figure from her work, Höfer’s imagery has consistently (but never repetitively) focused on depopulated interiors since the 1980s. Höfer has presented her work in numerous exhibitions in Europe; she represented Germany at the Venice Biennale in 2003 together with the late Martin Kippenberger (1953–1997). Her photographs have been featured in monographic exhibitions at the Louvre, Paris, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, and a retrospective of her work traveled in America from 2005 to 2007. Höfer lives and works in Cologne.
German, born 1954
“In the beginning I was also interested in the relationship of the individual to the larger historical time span into which he’s born, and the responsibilities of what might be called one’s heritage… My goal has always been to address something more generalized than a specific historical moment… I’m always more interested in making a picture the central message of which is still valid in fifty years or so.”
—Struth interviewed by Gil Blank 2007
Born in Geldern, Germany, Struth began his art studies at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in 1973. He initially trained under the painter Gerhard Richter (b. 1932), whose work frequently interrogates the interconnections between photography and painting. Increasingly drawn to photography, Struth, like Höfer, entered Becher’s studio in 1976. Struth’s main bodies of work include street scenes, family portraits, dense forests, techno-industrial spaces, and, in this exhibition, the “Museum Pictures.” Struth describes his photographic practice as interrelated regardless of subject matter. His work has been the subject of many group and monographic exhibitions, including two traveling retrospectives, one in America in 2002–2003, and another currently underway in Europe 2010–2012. Struth lives and works in Düsseldorf and Berlin.