Ruff, Thomas

Thomas Ruff – Biography

Thomas Ruff - m.n.o.p.05 - 2017Thomas Ruff (German, b.1958) is internationally acclaimed for his explorations of photography in serial works, portraits, and, most recently, digital images. Ruff was born in Zell am Harmersbach, Germany, and studied photography at the Düsseldorf Academy of Art with famous photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher (German, 1931–2007 and b.1934). He first received critical attention for his series of Interiors, in which he photographed German rooms, later followed by spare, somber portraits of friends, drawing from the aesthetics of police photographs from the 1970s.

Ruff began creating large-scale works in color in the 1980s, photographing building facades and printing them for display in monumental sizes. Ruff is well-known for his experiments with altered and appropriated imagery, which borrow material from newspapers, textbooks, pornography, public architecture, Japanese manga (comics), found images on the Internet, and even his own previously photographed works. He has exhibited his work at the Venice Biennale, at documenta IX in Kassel, and at the Tate in Liverpool, among many other venues. Ruff currently lives and works in Düsseldorf.