For many years, Candida Höfer traveled around the world photographing public libraries. In her iconic images, they appear as cathedrals of knowledge and as temples of wisdom. Her carefully constructed pictorial compositions uniquely reflect the objective arrangement of endless rows of books and shelving systems. This objective approach – one of the defining features of Höfer’s photographic vocabulary – is particularly evident in her pictures showing library interiors in different parts of the world.
This book presents an essential collection of these photographs and contrasts them with Höfer’s current project at Neue Galerie Gladbeck, a former public library converted into a modern art gallery. When Höfer visited the venue in 2019, she was fascinated by the conspicuous symmetry of the old building and the former reading room lit by colored glass windows. This experience inspired Höfer to revisit her Libraries series and to put together a show with old and new works for display in the gallery’s space. As part of this exhibition, Höfer photographed the colored glass window and subsequently created a site-specific work by hanging the photograph opposite the actual window as a kind of mirror image.