Thomas Ruff exhibits for the first time with Gagosian Gallery presenting two exhibitions, ma.r.s. and nudes, at the gallery’s two London spaces on Britannia Street and Davies Street, respectively. Ruff’s unique style involves various photographic experiments, often working in series and using sourced imagery combined with an assortment of photographic tools and techniques: composite picture-making apparatus, star light system for night-vision, hand-tinting, stereoscopy, digital retouching, and photomontage. “The difference between my predecessors and me is that they believed to have captured reality and I believe to have created a picture. We all lost, bit by bit, the belief in this so-called objective capturing of real reality,” says Ruff in the press release.
The Britannia Street gallery hosts ma.r.s, produced with images sourced from the NASA website, transformed from their original black and white into vivid atmospheric works by Ruff. The large C-prints project a certain other worldliness with saturated colors that enhance their subtle details. Ruff has worked on two other astronomical series—a subject that has fascinated the artist since childhood—the 1989 Sterne and the 2008 cassini. Ruff also experiments for the first time with 3D image-making, exhibiting works that can be viewed with or without 3D glasses, which are provided at the gallery.
At the second London address, the Davies Street gallery hosts a second series of photographs, nudes. Ruff started producing nudes in 2003 sourcing images from internet pornography, distorting the images by blowing them up into exaggerated proportions. The large works on display are blurred into impressionist-like, muted manifestations, perhaps providing a more sensual than sexual viewing experience.
Ruff also assisted in the design of the exhibition’s fully illustrated catalogue, featuring an essay by the novelist Geoff Dyer and an interview between Ruff and curator Hans Ulrich Obrist.