Thomas Ruff



MCA DNA: Thomas Ruff is the first iteration of an ongoing exhibition series featuring iconic works that constitute the building blocks of the MCA Collection. As demonstrated by this exhibition, the MCA has a strong holding of works by Ruff (German, b. 1958), who belongs to a generation of influential German photographic artists that includes Andreas Gursky (German, b. 1955), Thomas Struth (German, b. 1954), and Candida Hofer (German, b. 1944). These artists all attended the Kunstakademie Dusseldorf in the 1980s, studying under conceptual photographer Bernd Becher (German, 1931–2007). Ruff’s varied work ranges from his early (now seminal) large-scale portraits of German citizens, to studies of modernist architecture, to digitally modified pornographic images appropriated from the Internet. In recent years, Ruff has continued to explore the creative potential of digital media, producing pure photographic abstractions by manipulating found digital images, or creating intricate compositions through the use of computer modeling programs. The diversity of Ruff’s approach reflects his commitment to exploring the various facets of photography, from its documentary function to its development as an aesthetic medium. His rigorous investigations into the distinctive characteristics of the medium are essential to understanding photography’s place in contemporary art.

This exhibition is organized by MCA Curatorial Assistant Michael Green.


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