Thomas Ruff: Series
Text by José Manuel Costa. Interview by Valeria Liebermann.
Over the past few decades, Thomas Ruff (born 1958) has explored new technologies in photography to interrogate how images are read in the age of spectacle and media dissemination. Among the most prolific members of the Düsseldorf School, Ruff effectively set aside conventional photography in 1989 to work with altered and appropriated imagery, using military technology, astrophysics and digital reproduction to explore and define the limits of contemporary image-making. The images in his Nacht series, for example, were taken using night-vision infrared technology developed for the Gulf War. Over the last two decades, Ruff has sourced material from an array of sources, from newspapers to Japanese manga comics and the internet. Thomas Ruff: Series collects 59 images from seven of Ruff’s best-known series. Alongside the Nacht series and the photograms, it includes his series m.a.r.s., zycles and cassini, which use 3-D renderings of mathematical curves and enlarged images from NASA satellites.