Thomas Ruff

b.1958, Zell am Harmersbach, Germany. Lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany


Thomas Ruff
Thomas Ruff, Substrat 8 II, 2002



Thomas Ruff is a critically acclaimed artist commonly known for his work in photography. Since the mid-1980s Thomas Ruff has produced distinctive and influential series of photographic images, investigating a diverse set of subject matter and techniques. These include monumental Portraits of inexpressive faces, chromogenic prints of the night sky, computer-generated compositions, and enlarged selections from print media archives and Internet jpegs. A student at Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf from 1977-1985 under the tutorship of Bernd and Hilla Becher, and subsequently a Professor there himself, Ruff has consistently posed questions of social interpretation and artistic subjectivity in relation to photography. Working with both analogue and digital processes to produce physically imposing pictures, Ruff repeatedly finds surprising ways to explore the aesthetic and conceptual parameters of the mechanical image.

Thomas Ruff is considered a key member of the Düsseldorf School of photography, alongside artists including Thomas Struth, Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer and Axel Hütte. He has been the recipient of numerous accolades, including the Infinity Award for Art in 2006 by the International Centre of Photography in New York.