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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Thomas Ruff - Porträts
Thomas Ruff, Thomas Ruff - Porträts, 1988. Book, ink, paper, 24 x 17 cm, 55 p., language : German, author : Kasper König, Cornelia Will & Julian Heynen, publisher : Museum Schloss Hardenberg, Velbert, Portikus, Frankfurt am Main & Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Köln, ISBN : 3-88375-078-6.
Zonder Titel (Portret van...
Thomas Ruff, Zonder Titel (Portret van Frank Müller) [Untitled (Portrait of Frank Müller)], 1985. Collage, photograph, 210 x 167 x 4 cm.
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The collection XXXIII – T...
07 June 2013 - 22 September 2013.
The character of a collection reflected the current priorities of the M HKA collection: the evaluation of Antwerp’s avant-garde tradition; th
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Collectie Vlaamse Gemeens...
The M HKA holds works on permanent loan that were acquired with the budget of the Vlaamse Commissie voor Beeldende Kunst (Flemish Visual Art
Luc Tuymans, David Claerbout, Charif Benhelima, Thomas Ruff, Cindy Sherman, Marlene Dumas, Craigie Horsfield, Vlad Monroe, Sergey Bratkov, N.
The M HKA’s contemporary art collection has grown thanks to a combination of acquisitions, donations and long-term loans from various public