Thomas Ruff: A retrospective

12 Dec. 2008., 19pm As part of the Month of Photography 2008

With the solo exhibition of Thomas Ruff, Műcsarnok brings another prominent figure of the contemporary art scene to the public.

Thomas Ruff’s work is an encyclopaedic encapsulation of today’s photography. His subjects extend from portraits to galaxies, from the micro- to the macrocosm. His approach is simultaneously scientific and political, while he is also sensitive to shifts in the approaches of contemporary visual culture. The techniques he has employed represent all major steps in the development of photography, including digital image making. His monumental enlargements are expressive lessons in the method, or what he calls the grammar, of photography.

An outstanding member of the generation that started to work in the beginning of the 80s, Thomas Ruff started in the company of Andreas Gursky, Thomas Struth, Candida Höffer and Axel Hütte, the so-called Dusseldorf School. It was the first generation to learn photography at an academy of art. As a young artist, he saw the 1977 Dokumenta at Kassel (where he would exhibit in 1992), which presented the photography of 150 years, and was thus a first-hand witness of the elevation of the art form into the canon. While he first gained renown as a maker of portraits, he later addressed a great many other subjects, always keeping in focus the question of the medium. He earned one of the greatest recognitions in 2000, when Bernd Becher chose him as his successor at the Dusseldorf Academy; he was to teach there until the spring of 2006. He has been featured at exhibitions in the most important galleries of the world, from Berlin to Tokyo. In 1995, he represented Germany at the Venice Biennale.
In the show we represent his art through the most important series to date: jpeg; Machines; Substrate; Nudes; Portraits; Other Portraits; Nights; Newspaper Photographs; Stars, including the newest Zycels.

„Probably I’m working on a kind of grammar of the media. I want to understand how it works. I see images, and I don’t know how they were done; I have to find out how the image works, how we perceive it.” (T.R.) „Maybe in our society we are not only consuming products and nature but doing the same thing with information.” (T.R.) „We are consuming information, we swallow it and it is gone, it doesn’t reach our brain.” (T.R.)

The Grammar of Photography – a discussion with Thomas Ruff

Zsolt Petrányi and Thomas Ruff discuss the series presented at the exhibition, as well as issues of contemporary photography on 13 December 2008, at 11 a.m., in the auditorium of Műcsarnok.
2008. December 13. - 2009. February 15.

Kunsthalle, Budapest

2008. November 15. - December 14.
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