Thomas Ruff

° 1958

Born in Zell am Harmersbach (), lives in Düsseldorf ().

Thomas Ruff was taught by the influential photographer couple Bernd and Hilla Becher at the Düsseldorf Academy and in their home studio. The Becher School refers to both the (physical) school and the first students graduating from it, many of them becoming highly successful photographers. Since the early 1980s, Ruff is very famous on an international level.

Thomas Ruff's oeuvre consists of photo's, sometimes almost 3 meters in height, of neoclassic buildings, houses and factories, starry skies and uniform, monolithic portraits. These are series of 'objective', documentary photographs with titles like Porträts (portraits), Haüser (houses) Zeitungsfotos (newspaper pictures) or Sterne (stars). Ruff describes his photographs as 'documents of disbelief.' He is skeptical about the idea of the photograph as evidence. To him, the technological process, with all its possible manipulations, is central. Each visual device betrays its purpose. Photography always provides opportunities for manipulation and is therefore open to abuse.

Some of Ruff's works deal with the political dimension of the such possible manipulations. He shows for example large format computer montages in which he mocks and exposes the complacent attitude of politicians.

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