Gow Langsford Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of photographs by Thomas Ruff.
Thomas Ruff is a celebrated German artist, internationally renowned for his conceptual photographic series. Since the 1980s his work has explored many fields of contemporary life. His first solo exhibition in New Zealand, Thomas Ruff: Photographs includes pieces from four major bodies of work: nudes, portraits, architecture and constellations.
Ruff is perhaps best known for his revival of portrait photography in the early 1980s and his series' of portraits that have ensued since. Contrary to the commonly valued aspect of portraiture which often offers the essence or reveals unspoken truths of a person, Ruff's subjects are reclusive.
If Ruff's work can be characterised by the close scrutiny of his subjects his buildings are no exception. His architectural works are typical of his series that are standardised, using the same photographic methods and perspective in each. Remarkably banal images are the result of post production editing through which obstructive elements are removed from the landscape.In his Andere Portaets Ruff borrowed a Minolta montage unit, previously used by German police in the 1970s, to create phantom portraits - images that did not, but could conceivably exist. The process allowed him to create his series in front of the camera, with each image captured in a single shot rather manipulating the image in pre or post production.
Later series are based on readymade images, including the Newspaper Portraits which reuse photographs of anonymous people and generic events from everyday life and the Stars that began as telescopic images from an observatory of a night sky. Through digital processes, traces of their original documentary sources are removed and they blur subtly into the realms of abstraction.
Working increasingly less with the camera in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Ruff turned to the infinite store of images on the web for the source material of his Nudes series. The Nudes can be seen as a contrast to the tradition of nude photography which, generally speaking, has one dominant perspective. Ruff's Nudes present other possibilities for the nude portrait - one which dispassionately presents the reality of diverse adult sexual practices.
Ruffs work has been shown at major galleries and institutions worldwide including the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; Centre de Cultura Contempornia de Barcelona, Barcelona and the Guggenheim, New York. He exhibited at the German pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1995 and Documenta in 1992.
Please note some images with sexual content may offend some people. A mature audience is recommended.
Read John Hurrell's Eyecontact review of the show here.
Ruff will also be giving public lectures in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch (as below). For further information on the lecture series, please contact Lisa Berndt at the Goethe Institut.
AUCKLAND 24 March 2010, 6 pm AUT, City Campus, Lecture Theatre WE 230
WELLINGTON 31 March 2010, 6 pm Massey University, Old Museum Building, Lecture Theatre 10A02
CHRISTCHURCH 03 April 2010, 3 pm Christchurch Art Gallery