June 08, 2002
one in 12 by Candida Höfer

The twelfth and last Copy of Auguste Rodin’s The Burghers of Calais was given to the city of Seoul. The City of Calais then asked the German photographer Candida Höfer to document the twelve copies of the sculpture at their twelve locations in Paris, London, Kopenhagen, Washington, Basel, Tokyo, Mariemont, New York, Philadelphia, Passadena, Seoul and Calais. Candida Höfer was the perfect artist for this commission, being the probably most sensitive of the great German Photographers of our time. She traveled around the world and created a masterpiece in twelve parts, as she clearly shows that a sculpture is in a constant dialogue with its surroundings. There is a Book called “Zwölf-Twelve” that was published to document this project.
Because Candida Höfer is also one of the Documenta11 artists this year, and because Burges of Calais is part of the show (I assume), edition schellmann, a high end editions house from Munich, published an edition of 50, of the Sculpture in New York, at the The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The piece is one of my favorites in the series. It is one of my favorites not only because of the location of the sculpture. The light conditions in the Photograph are not easy. The statue is shot against a wall of light. The shadow of the sculpture allows us to see the parquet floor of the museum more clearly. The outside enters the room just faintly. There is a second sculpture in the image, it is cropped however, so it does not interfere with the main subject. Even though there is a second sculpture, there are enough compositional elements on the right hand side to balance the composition, enhancing the serenity of the picture. The crop shows a great level of intimacy. The parallels in the image are corrected and all angles appear natural. A true Candida Höfer piece.
All elements in the image seem approachable, of human size. The piece is a reflection of Rodin’s intention to create a piece of human proportions, celebrating a famous act of human heroism that took place 1347.
The 12 Burghers of Calais, is definitely one of Candida Höfer’s conceptually outstanding works.
It is quite likely that as I am writing this, the edition is being sold out. You can inquire about the piece at edition schellmann. When I spoke with the representative today, there were about 7 prints left. The Work went on sale the day before yesterday.

Posted by Witold Riedel at June 08, 2002 01:44 AM
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