press release

This solo exhibition of Thomas Ruff (b. 1958, lives and works in Düsseldorf) at the Castello di Rivoli presents more than eighty works. Trained in the late 1970s at the Düsseldorf Academy, since the early 1980s Ruff has been creating photo-based artworks that thoughtfully and objectively investigate the photographic medium, the use to which it is put and the world of contemporary visual culture. He accomplishes this through a succession of series of works – Interieurs (Interiors); Porträts (Portraits); architectural photographs such as Häuser (Houses), Herzog & de Meuron and the series l.m.v.d.r. devoted to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe; Sterne (Stars); Nächte (Nights); Substrat (Substratum); jpegs and the recent series of nudes, based on images taken from pornographic websites on the Internet. While the exhibition includes some of Ruff’s earliest and most significant works, this exhibition focuses on Ruff’s most recent production, specifically examining subjectivity and our relationship with manipulation and visual culture in the digital era, a theme on which Ruff began to reflect in the 1990s. The question of manipulation is in fact present in key yet lesser-known early works such as his 1995 series of hand-painted found photographs called Retuschen (Retouched). The exhibition ends with his recent zycles (Cycles) made since 2007. These inkjet printed abstractions on canvas are based on the representation of space and construction of volumes and shapes in 3-D modeling programs, and suggest that painting and photography are no longer separate mediums. Some works in this exhibition will be presented for the first time. The exhibition is accompanied by a 300-page catalogue published by SKIRA, with new essays by the curator Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev as well as by Daniel Birnbaum and Giorgio Verzotti. It includes an anthology of critical writings, images of all exhibited works with extensive entries, and a complete chronology.

Thomas Ruff

Curated by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev