Al­tered im­ages

Ger­man artist Thomas Ruff re­veals his first ma­jor Lon­don ret­ro­spec­tive

Esquire (UK) - - Culture -

What is the pur­pose of a pho­to­graphic im­age? It’s a ques­tion that could in­spire 1,000 dull sem­i­nars or, in the hands of Thomas Ruff, one crack­ing ex­hi­bi­tion

(or ac­tu­ally, two). The Ger­man artist, who has a ret­ro­spec­tive open­ing at the Whitechapel Gallery and a si­mul­ta­ne­ous “in­ter­ven­tion” on dis­play at the

Na­tional Por­trait Gallery, both in Lon­don, has al­ways tested the bound­aries of pho­to­graphic for­mal­i­ties, from in­sert­ing him­self into his own still lives, to blow­ing pass­port-style pho­to­graphs into be­witch­ing for­mal por­traits, and ex­plor­ing the beauty of dis­torted jpegs. His oeu­vre is vast and var­ied, but his in­quir­ing mind and de­ci­sive eye are pow­er­fully con­sis­tent.

— Thomas Ruff, 27 Septem­ber–21 Jan­uary 2018, Whitechapel Gallery, Lon­don E1; whitechapel­gallery.org

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