Thomas Ruff’s photograms at David Zwirner Gallery

What you see doesn’t exist

We first discovered photographs some two years ago when we interviewed Adam Fuss about his captivating and monumental images created using biological objects. We then met Alison Rossiter at AIPAD and talked to her about her monochromatic color fields inspired by Richard Serra‘s exhibition at the Met.

Thomas Ruff's photograms at David Zwirner Gallery. The Armory Show 2014

This year during The Armory Show we were introduced to the work of a German artist who has chosen photograms as his latest means of artistic communication. In a series of works started in 2012 Thomas Ruff essentially takes an idea that was first introduced my artists like Man Ray, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy who simply placed objects of various shapes, textures and opacities onto photographic paper and captured their physical qualities through the optical traces they left on the light sensitive surface of the paper. But what those artists managed to achieve through light and the chemical processes in the 1920’s, Ruff creates using all-digital means. So, what you see actually doesn’t exist.

As Veronique Ansorge, Associate Director at David Zwirner Gallery (New York / London) explained, Ruff creates these shapes and lines in his computer, digitally manipulating color and light to create his large scale abstract compositions. They are much more elementally complex and abstract than any of Man Ray’s rayographs where we can recognize many of the employed objects.

Interview transcript on Page 2

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