Front view
Inv. No.S-1714
ArtistJosef Hoflehnerborn 1955 in Austria

"Central Park, Study 1, Manhattan, New York"

from the series: "American Landscapes"

pigment-based inkjet print

Dimensions70 x 93 cm

signed and numbered on recto


"It is the seemingly desolate areas that particularly impress me", says the artist Josef Hofehner (Wels 1955). A clear analytical view, the reduction of the picture content to the essential, the extraction of graphic elements, the structural analysis of a place and the absolute mastery of the technical possibilities of photography are the constant companions of the self-taught artist. With great patience Josef Hofehner awaits the right moment to press the shutter release, which turns a pure image into a work of art of timeless aesthetics and sublimity. The much quoted "punctum", a term of the French philosopher Roland Barthes, is the great art of Josef Hofehner. On his numerous journeys through the USA, accompanied by his son Jakob, also a photographer, he creates snapshots that are tantamount to a meditative approach to the structure of a society that threatens to break down due to its bustling and fast-paced nature.
With his latest group of works, American Landscapes, the artist walks in the footsteps of American photographic history: in 1975, curator William Jenkins presented an exhibition at the George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography in Rochester, New York, entitled New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-altered Landscape") at the George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography in Rochester, New York. This exhibition, which initiated a paradigm shift in the history of photography, is generally understood as the beginning of a new photographic view of the landscape and a radical change in American landscape photography. Not the ideal conception of nature, but the documentary view of the environment shaped by trade, transport and exploitation of nature became the subject of a new photographic art critical of civilization. The great pioneer of color photography, William Eggleston, also contributed to the establishment of the new genre through his choice of motifs.
Motifs that are as highly significant as they are banal, such as street lamps, gas stations, telephone booths, parking lots, supermarkets, and empty highways, are then as now the motifs that are at the center of photographic observation. The light situations, which play a major role in Hofehner's works, give the photographers a quasi-sacral aura. Bob's Oil becomes an inviting hostel in the middle of the dark night due to the bright light. The nocturnally lit paths of Central Park seem to be the pulsating veins of the New York organism. Checker, a water tower covered with a checkerboard pattern, stands, illuminated in red like a spider-like alien, next to a simple-looking residential architecture in North Dakota. The two light sources in Park Deck illuminate an emptied, surreal environment: René Magritte could have directed here. Some traditional picturesque motifs of the supposedly untouched landscape such as James River, Virginia and Mississippi River are reminiscent of another great American photographer: Ansel Adams. Like him, Josef Hofehner stages the landscape with the highest technical precision using light and shadow, and he also adds new perspectives and visions to the supposedly banal motif.
(Katja Mittendorfer, 2015)

S-1714, "Central Park, Study 1, Manhattan, New York"
Josef Hoflehner, "Central Park, Study 1, Manhattan, New York", 2015
S-1714, Front view
© Josef Hoflehner
S-1652, Josef Hoflehner, "Central Park (Winter Night), Manhattan, New York", 2014
Josef Hoflehner, "Central Park (Winter Night), Manhattan, New York", 2014
more infoS-1652, Front view
© Josef Hoflehner