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About Thomas Ruff

Thomas Ruff uses technological advancements to realize new visual possibilities of photography and question its artistic qualities. “I don’t believe in the psychologizing portrait photography that my colleagues do, trying to capture the character with a lot of light and shade,” he says. “That’s absolutely suspect to me. I can only show the surface. Whatever goes beyond that is more or less chance.” In the manner of the typologies and straight photography espoused by his teachers Bernd and Hilla Becher, Ruff’s best-known series is “Portraits” (1981-85), 60 frontal, identically framed photographs of expressionless men and women blown up to a monumental size. Authenticity and appropriation are of recurring interest to Ruff—he further explored these ideas in “Nudes” (2003), a photographic collection of distorted and enlarged thumbnails of pornographic photographs taken from the internet, and has produced series based on 3-D mathematical renderings, archival images of war and the night sky, and the architecture of Mies van der Rohe.

German, b. 1958, Zell am Harmersbach, Germany, based in Düsseldorf, Germany

Exhibition Highlights On Artsy

2016
Thomas Ruff New Works, David Zwirner, London
2016
Thomas Ruff: Object Relations, Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), Toronto
2015
Thomas Ruff: nature morte, Gagosian Gallery, London
2014
THOMAS RUFF - NEW WORK, Mai 36 Galerie, Zurich
2014
Thomas Ruff: Photograms and Negatives, Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills

Solo Shows on Artsy

2016
Thomas Ruff New Works, David Zwirner, London
2016
Thomas Ruff: Object Relations, Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), Toronto
2015
Thomas Ruff: nature morte, Gagosian Gallery, London
2014
THOMAS RUFF - NEW WORK, Mai 36 Galerie, Zurich
2014
Thomas Ruff: Photograms and Negatives, Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills
2013
THOMAS RUFF "j_m_s_s_z", Lia Rumma, Milan
2012
Thomas Ruff: ma.r.s, Gagosian Gallery, London
2012
Thomas Ruff: Nudes, Gagosian Gallery, London

Group Shows on Artsy

2016
Photography Reinvented: The Collection of Robert E. Meyerhoff and Rheda Becker, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Washington
2016
Witness, MCA Chicago, Chicago
2016
Group Exhibition @ MAI 36 SHOWROOM, Mai 36 Galerie, Zürich
2015
MAI 36 POP-UP - WUNDERKAMMER, Mai 36 Galerie, Zurich
2015
Faces Now: European Portrait Photography since 1990, Centre for Fine Arts (BOZAR), Brussels
View Artist's CV