Zonder Titel (Portret van Frank Müller) [Untitled (Portrait of Frank Müller)]

Thomas Ruff


Collage, 210 x 167 x 4 cm.
Materials: photograph

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. BK5912_M106).

In Untitled (Portrait of Frank Müller), the subject looks straight at us. The large format reveals all imperfections – big pores and pimples are extra-visible. Thomas Ruff photographs with the greatest precision, each detail is made evident, and yet these portraits remain anonymous and strange. The photographs reveal no other clue than the portrait itself. Ruff’s portraits are critical imitations of conventional portrait photography. According to the artist, photography does not succeed in recording the subject’s character or personality. The portrait photos only show us a superficial level. Ruff describes himself as an observer. He does not look for the psychological representation of an individual’s complex structure. Photography directed towards true individual portrayal, for this artist, is an unrealizable ambition.

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