b. 1958 Zell am Harmersbach, Germany
1982 BFA Düsseldorf Art Academy
Lives and works in Düsseldorf
As one of the most influential photographers of our time, Thomas Ruff has constantly challenged the nature of photography and its relationship with reality. From the architectural photography of the Bauhaus to the conceptual of Bernd and Hilla Becher, the main influence to Ruff’s art is the tension between reality and what is captured by photography as reality.
In his recent works, Ruff has manipulated downloaded images from the Web, including those of the 9/11 terrorist attack and natural disasters. In his Jpegs series, the artist enlarged the compressed images until they became an almost abstract image. According to Ruff, the manipulation of photographic images has a long history and digital manipulation is a mere succession of this long tradition of retouching photographic images. Rather than an objective tool of recording reality, a photograph is a kind of ‘frozen picture’ that only ‘pretends to show reality’.
Ruff’s works are widely collected by prestigious art institutions throughout the world: Centre Pompidou, Paris, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Museum Modern Kunst, Frankfurt and Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary to name a few.