In this clip, Thomas Ruff speaks about his experience at the Düsseldorf Academy and the artists that have most inspired his work from August Sander, Walker Evans to Joel Meyerowitz. He presents his first important body of work of enlarged portraits of his friends so the viewer understands he is looking at a photograph of the subject and not only the subject. Ruff explains how large scale photography has emancipated the medium on the contempoary art scene in the 1980’s. Ruff also speaks about his Architecture series when he starts using digital retouching, and expresses how objective photography is always subjective. Finally, he presents his Stars and newspaper collages series when for the first time in his career, he gives up authorship of the image and use appropriation.
The full version of this talk is available on vimeo and on our multimedia section, divided in four different clips.
Aperture and the photography department in the School of Art, Media, and Technology at Parsons The New School for Design presented this conversation between artist Thomas Ruff and writer, former picture editor, Philip Gefter, on February 12, 2010 at Aperture Gallery.
Thomas Ruff is among the most important international photographers to emerge in the last fifteen years, and one of the most enigmatic and prolific of Bernd and Hilla Becher’s former students, a group that includes Andreas Gursky, Thomas Struth, Candida Höfer, and Axel Hutte.
In 2009, Aperture released the first monograph dedicated exclusively to the publication of Ruff’s remarkable series: JPEGS. In 2007, Ruff completed his monumental Jpegs series in which he explores the distribution and reception of images in the digital age. Starting with images he culls primarily from the Web, Ruff enlarges them to a gigantic scale, which exaggerates the pixel patterns until they become sublime geometric displays of color. Many of Ruff’s works in the series focus on idyllic, seemingly untouched landscapes, and conversely, scenes of war, and nature disturbed by human manipulation.