© Candida Höfer

Candida Höfer: Teylers Museum Haarlem, 2003

Books grow out of the ground here
Dutch Libraries and Librarians photographed by Candida Höfer and Bert Nienhuis

Huis Marseille proudly presents the photographs that Candida Höfer (1944) and Bert Nienhuis (1944) recently took of 25 Dutch libraries and librarians. Höfer depicted the interiors of the libraries, while Nienhuis portrayed the librarians.

Not only is this the first time that Candida Höfer is exhibiting in the Netherlands, she is also showing work that has never been exhibited before. Her work can be defined as the evocative mapping of public rooms, halls and spaces that are shaped by their use. The library has developed as a distinct subtype within this. The visual quality of her work is timeless and monumental, greatly refined in her usage of colour and natural light.

The 25 libraries selected for this project not only vary widely in appearance; they each stand for different types of collections and users. Thus there are university, public, museum, and private libraries, as well as an ecclesiastical, a legal and a royal collection. The selection is intended to be a representative and lavish cross-section of what the Netherlands has to offer.

Bert Nienhuis's portraits of the librarians give a human countenance to the library. Although often invisible to the public, the librarian is the driving force behind these collections of books. He, and sometimes she, not only represents the power and the effectiveness of the book, but also and to an ever-increasing degree the logistical management so inseparably connected with the library. With this commission, Bert Nienhuis has again proven his visual prowess as a portrait photographer.

Libraries in 3D: During the exhibition it will also be possible to take a virtual tour of some of the libraries. Especially for this project, photographer Iwan Baan went into the hearts of six libraries to take 360-degree, three-dimensional interactive photos, which the visitor can see via a computer in Huis Marseille's Media Kitchen.

Publication: Els Barents and Saskia Asser (ed.), "Books Grow Out of the Ground Here - Dutch Libraries and Librarians Photographed by Candida Höfer and Bert Nienhuis", Amsterdam (Uitgeverij De Bataafsche Leeuw) 2004, with an essay by Frans A. Janssen, design by Bart de Haas, NL/ENG.

Exhibition: February 28 - May 23, 2004
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 11.00 - 17.00 h
(closed on Mondays)

Huis Marseille
Foundation for Photography
Keizersgracht 401
NL-1016 EK Amsterdam
Telephone +31 20 531 89 89
Fax +31 20 531 89 88