Trinity College Library Dublin I.



Candida Hӧfer (b. 1944).


Trinity College Library Dublin I.




Chromogenic color print, no. 24/100, 9¼ x 11½ in.

Candida Hӧfer’s “photographs are sober and restrained in feel—the atmosphere is disturbed by neither visitors nor users, especially as she forgoes any staging of the locations. The emptiness is imbued with substance by a subtle attention to colour, and the prevailing silence instilled with a metaphysical quality that gives voice to the objects, over and above the eloquence of the furnishings and the pathos of the architecture….” This crisp description of Höfer’s artistry can be found, along with Trinity College Library Dublin I, in her book of photographs, Libraries (2005).

Aside from the brilliance of this composition, which presents Trinity College Library as a "chambered nautilus" of receding spaces, I responded to this photograph, purchased at a satellite fair of Art Basel Miami Beach, because of the library depicted. My graduate thesis was on the art criticism of Samuel Beckett.  A further expansion of the scope of the topic to include a wide swath of the writer's critical output necessitated investigations into the “systems” of Dante, Bruno, Vico and Joyce, among other great thinkers. This photograph is a reminder to me of the great erudition that informs all of Beckett's oeuvre, and the venerable institution that helped foster his imagination.


Nancy G. Harrison