This is the first retrospective of German artist Thomas Ruff, one of the most acclaimed and ground-breaking photographers working today. This exhibition covers Ruff's substantial œuvre and presents works from ten of fifteen series, from his earliest work in the late 1970s to his most recent.
Thomas Ruff, one of six children, was born in 1958 in Zell am Harmersbach in the Black Forest, Germany. Ruff was an academic child excelling in maths and science. At an early age he became interested in astronomy and bought a small telescope.
In the summer of 1974 Ruff acquired his first camera and after attending an evening class in the basic techniques of photography he started to experiment, taking shots similar to those he had seen in many amateur photography magazines. Two years later he enrolled at the Dusseldorf Art Academy to study Fine Art and Photography.
Inspired by the lectures of Benjamin H.D. Buchloh and the photography of Bernd and Hilla Becher, Ruff began to work in a more minimal and conceptual way. He studied alongside artists such as Candida Höfer, Reinhard Mucha, Klaus Rinke and Thomas Struth. Through an acquaintance Ruff met students from Gerhard Richter's class, including Michael van Ofen, Thomas Schütte and Volker Tannert.
In 1979, to finance his studies, Ruff worked for a commercial photographer who made brochures for the building industry. This practical experience, combined with his interest in the urban environment of his home town, the work of Eugène Atget, and the architectural photography of the Bauhaus, led Ruff to begin work on a series of photographs of interiors and buildings.
Thomas Ruff: 1979 to the Present was organised by the Kunsthalle Baden-Baden and is curated by Matthias Winzen, Director Kunsthalle Baden-Baden.
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