Strappy black and cut in fringes strict of his hair silver, Candida Höfer gives off a glow, faint, like a candle, as the embodiment of life and death in a vanity painted by his compatriot Gerhard Richter. An intense reserve which is holding instinctively to a distance of the glory of photography at the empty filled with mystery. Candida Höfer was born in 1944 in Eberswalde, province of Brandenburg, has studied Fine Arts in Cologne before continuing in the early 1970s at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf with the couple of legend, Bernd and Hilla Becher. A pedigree is that she is the only woman to share it with Axel Hütte, Andreas Gursky, Thomas Ruff, Thomas Struth, the great names of the School of Düsseldorf who put with her photography German on the podium.

For his return to the front of the stage, Candida Höfer has chosen as the subject Paris. A Paris majestic tells the story through its monuments, as a pilgrimage silent. In its objective, cold, timeless, high-sensitivity, here are some places that the Parisians will take some time to recognize. It is the Currency of Paris, completed in 1775 on the quai Conti. This is the empty room of the Institute of France where the light is intensely white and transfigure the place and embodies the spirit of the men in green, absent from the image. This is the glass house by Pierre Chareau, a marvel of Art deco hidden near Sciences Po, in which the modernity of the 1920s is almost like science fiction. This is the salle Labrouste, national Library, high as the nave of the Grand Palais, almost unrecognizable in its swirls. This is the Odeon Theatre which was rediscovered the next boudoir, and the ceiling painted.

Austerity and simplicity.

At her dinner, varnishing, white flowers and collected atmosphere, Candida Höfer said its “reluctance to photograph the disaster”. “I was in Paris when the fire of Our Lady, there was nothing I wanted to do. I was in New York, the September 11, 2001, I hadn’t wanted to do.” This artist, who peacefully lives in Cologne, a city on the Rhine that was able to be reborn from its ashes after the bombing of the Second world War, prefer the beauty of the order, that is to say, without the madness of men. She describes her interior, of the pure scandinavian design in the single picture hung. Thanks to its two young gallery owners, Helene Nguyen-Ban and Victoire de Pourtales, who brought him acclaim and logistics, she was able to do his two favorite photos, the Cité de refuge for the salvation Army by Le Corbusier and the Villa Savoye, always of Le Corbusier.

“His accuracy distanced and cold, the rigor and simplicity of minimalist style of his images accentuate the presence of spiritual and sacred of these places full of history and of memory, welcomes Hélène Nguyen-Ban. Austerity and discretion as a reflection of his personality, Candida prefers, in fact, the beauty, the force and the solemnity of an historical monument to a grand eloquent speech, saving herself and her words, always chosen with precision and discernment.”

Candida Höfer, VNH Gallery, 108 rue Vieille-du-Temple (Iiird). Tel.: 01 85 09 43 21. Opening hours: mar. the sam., from 10 am to 19 h. until 15 June.