Thomas Ruff’s photography suggests the possibilities of his chosen medium, as he might use digital manipulation for one subject and antiquated darkroom techniques for another. Ruff works in series, creating defined bodies of work whose subjects include empty domestic interiors, appropriated interplanetary images captured by NASA, abstractions of modernist architecture, three–dimensional computer–generated Pop imagery, and obscured pornography. Ruff’s portraiture series of the early 1980s (his first to receive critical acclaim) featured groupings of large three-quarter portraits like so many passport photos; their enlarged scale offered a startling level of legibility. Though these, like many of his photographic series, seem to beg a sociocultural interpretation, perhaps the most constant feature in Ruff’s career is his disavowal of such a reading. Instead Ruff focuses on aesthetics and process, building an eclectic oeuvre not defined by genre, method, or theme, but rather by stark imagery, relative conceptual seriality of subject, and the clever subversion of the printed image.
Thomas Ruff was born in 1958 in Zell am Harmersbach, Germany. From 1977 to 1985, he attended Staatliche Kunstakademie, Düsseldorf. Recent solo exhibitions include “l.m.v.d.r.—thomas ruff,” Museum Haus Esters, Haus Lange, Germany (2000, traveled to Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin; and Galeria Estrany De La Mota, Barcelona); Chabot Museum, The Netherlands (2001); “Photographs 1979 to Present,” Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden–Baden, Germany (2001, traveled to Museet for Samtidskunst, Norway; Museum Folkwang, Germany; Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Artium Centro–Museo Vasco de Arte Contemporáneo, Spain; Museu Serralves, Portugal; Tate Liverpool, England; and Centre for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski Castle, Poland, through 2004); “Identificaciones,” Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City (2002); Hans–Thoma–Museum, Germany (2003); Busan Metropolitan Art Museum, South Korea (2003); “Neue Arbeiten,” Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin (2004); “Les Oeuvres de la Collection Pierre Huber,” Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Switzerland (2004); Sprengel Museum, Germany (2007); “Jpegs,” Moderna Museet, Sweden (2007); Mücsarnok Kunsthalle, Budapest (2008); “Thomas Ruff. Schwarzwald. Landschaft,” Museum für Neue Kunst, Germany (2009); “Thomas Ruff. Stellar Landscapes,” Westfälisches Landesmuseum, Germany (2011); Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, Spain (2011); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2011); Haus der Kunst, Munich (2012); “Lichten,” S.M.A.K., Belgium (2014, traveled to Kunsthalle Dusseldorf, Germany); and “Object Relations,” Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2016).
Ruff currently lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany.
August 6–September 25, 2015
Davies Street, London
Photograms and Negatives
April 19–May 31, 2014
March 8–April 21, 2012
Davies Street, London
March 8–April 21, 2012
Britannia Street, London
Fairs, Events & Announcements
Seattle Art Fair
August 2–5, 2018, booth A09
CenturyLink Field Event Center, Seattle
Gagosian is pleased to present Out of This World: Artists Explore Space, a booth curated by Larry Gagosian for the 2018 Seattle Art Fair. The presentation gathers works that reveal artistic and scientific explorations of the cosmos. Featured artists include Richard Avedon, Andisheh Avini, Chris Burden, Alexander Calder, Vija Celmins, Ellen Gallagher, Andreas Gursky, Damien Hirst, Neil Jenney, Mike Kelley, Yves Klein, Vera Lutter, Brice Marden, Marc Newson, Nam June Paik, Thomas Ruff, Ed Ruscha, Tom Sachs, Taryn Simon, Yves Tanguy, and Andy Warhol, among others.
Ed Ruscha, Even Though He’s Light Years Away, His Heart Belongs to Me, 1963 © Ed Ruscha
Gagosian App for iPad
Gagosian announces the release of issue 4 of the Gagosian App for iPad on July 13, 2013. Artists featured in this issue include Georg Baselitz, Piero Manzoni, Robert Rauschenberg, Nancy Rubins, Thomas Ruff, Taryn Simon, and Cy Twombly.
In issue 4 we feature an illustrated “pop-up” biography of Georg Baselitz, show Piero Manzoni’s Azimuth magazines digitized with full English translations for the first time, offer an endless “art board” of works from the exhibition The Private Collection of Robert Rauschenberg, including historical and biographical information on more than seventy-six artists. We also show a comprehensive overview of Nancy Rubins’s monumental public sculptures made from industrial objects, and give you a look at Thomas Ruff’s stereoscopic ma.r.s. photographs in 3-D. We invite you to interact with multimedia highlights from Taryn Simon’s four major bodies of work, curated by the artist, and explore Cy Twombly’s final paintings with a photographic and audio tribute to the artist by Sally Mann.
September 16–October 31, 2017
Eight exhibition venues in Beijing, China
Deutschland 8 is the continuation of the intercultural dialogue between China and Germany that successfully started with the exhibition China 8 in 2015. New works by German artists will be on view at eight different museums throughout Beijing. The works selected will highlight the historical context and developments in German art from 1945 to the present day. Work by Georg Baselitz, Katharina Grosse, Andreas Gursky, Anselm Kiefer, Albert Oehlen, and Thomas Ruff is included.
Anselm Kiefer, The Door, 1973 © Anselm Kiefer