There were four points that stood out to me in Campany’s review of Thomas Ruff’s work that appeared in IANN magazine no.2 @ 2008.
The first was “It’s potent ability to solicit individual and global responses that cannot be entirely reconciled”, this is what I felt when first viewing his work; is it Photography, art or just a good printing job ?
The second was his questions about the information we now have at our fingertips , how it affects our lives and more importantly how it shapes our perception, morals and desires.
He also questions what we mean by ‘from the internet’? Is the internet an archive” ? , he goes on to say “In fact Ruff tells us they are from the internet”, meaning Ruff’s images.
My take on it is this, the internet is the mother of all archives; a Pandora’s box of mankind’s best and darkest thoughts and achievements.
The last point he makes is about how Ruff presents his work using very large prints that are beyond what is normally excepted for quality images i.e pixelated.
In Colberg’s review that appeared in his blog “jmcolberg.com/weblog/2009/04/review_jpegs_by_thomas_ruff/” I only took one point of view and a good quote from Ruff himself.
He says that Ruff is possibly “one of the most creative and certainly inventive photographers of our time” and that the more traditionalist photographers could question whether it is indeed photography at all.
He also has a quote from the Artist himself that was an Excerpt from a conversation with Max Dax, Dreissig Gespräche, edition suhrkamp, 2009; telling how he actually came up with the concept of his jpegs during his time in New York city the week of the 9/11 attacks.
Thomas Ruff has done similar work using images from NASA entitled M.A.R.S .
On a personal note I prefer his more abstract art as I find his jpeg and mars series to be too much like Andy Warhol’s work and it’s hard to compete with Warhol.