Thomas Ruff: Transforming Photography



ISBN: 9781644230176 Category:

Okwui Enwezor


Over the course of his three-decade career, Thomas Ruff has taken up many approaches to photography in his investigation into the status of the image in contemporary culture.

In Thomas Ruff, the artist presents new work that continues his ongoing probe into the history, different processes, techniques, and technology of photography. One of the most influential photographers working today, Thomas Ruff has redefined photography’s conceptual possibilities, simultaneously capturing and challenging the essence of the medium as both a means and a tool for visual experience. Over the past twenty-five years, he has investigated various photographic genres, including portraiture, the nude, and landscape and architectural photography, using both analog and digital technologies, and culling imagery from scientific archives, print media, and the internet.

Presented here is a selection of Ruff’s most well-known works, as well as the newer Tripe series, begun in 2018, which draws on negatives of India and Burma taken in the 1850s by an officer in the East India Company army. Also included is a conversation between Ruff and Okwui Enwezor, which took place at the Haus der Kunst in Munich, in connection with Ruff’s retrospective then on view. The conversation, published here for the first time, has been edited for this volume and examines Ruff’s artistic practice and inspiration, serving as an engaging and dynamic introduction to the artist.

Published on the occasion of the artist’s solo exhibition at David Zwirner, Hong Kong, in 2019, Thomas Ruff is available in both English only and bilingual English/traditional Chinese editions.

Additional information

Weight 440 g
Dimensions 17.6 x 24.8 cm
Publisher name David Zwirner Books
Publication date 18 October 2019
Number of pages 76
Format Hardback
Dimensions 17.6 x 24.8 cm
Weight 440 g
In his considered approach to the means and possibilities of photography, Thomas Ruff(b. 1958) explores a breadth of themes that is reflected in the range of techniques he employs: analogue and digital exposures taken by the artist exist in his practice alongside computer generated imagery, photographs from scientific archives, and pictures culled and manipulated from newspapers, magazines, and the Internet. Born in 1958 in Zell am Harmersbach, Germany, Ruff attended the Staatlichen Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf from 1977 to 1985. Okwui Enwezor is a curator and formerly director of Haus der Kunst. He has served as artistic director of several international exhibitions, including the 56th Venice Biennale (2015); La Triennale 2012, Paris; 7th Gwangju Biennale (2008); 2nd Seville Biennial (2006); Documenta 11, Kassel (2002); and the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale (1997). He is the former dean of academic affairs and senior vice president of the San Francisco Art Institute, and has held the position of visiting professor at several universities including Columbia University and New York University.