Thomas Ruff will be exhibiting the latest works from his series "Cassini" and "Zycles" at the Rüdiger Schöttle Gallery from 5th September onwards.
Born in the Black Forest town of Zell am Harmersbach in 1958 and a former student of Bernd and Hiller Becher, Thomas Ruff counts among the most significant artist photographers of the present day. His copious oeuvre is characterized by vastly differing themes. While in the beginning his photographic works typically consisted of large series of objective, neutral depictions, such as portraits, houses, interiors, stars in the nightsky, Thomas Ruff has, since the late 1990s, been increasingly concerning himself with the new possibilities afforded by digital photography, not least with the technical manipulability of images disseminated through the mass medium of the Internet. Motivated by his fascination with astronomy from a very early age, Ruff devotes himself again and again to the theme of the universe. His series "Sterne" from the early 1990s is based on archive material from the European Southern Observatory. The blown-up images draw the viewer into a seemingly motionless reality, while in actual reality the universe is in a constant state of motion and change.
For his more recent series, "Cassini", Thomas Ruff likewise selected material from an astronomical archive, this time from the NASA. The title of the series refers to Giovanni Domenico Cassini, who was the first astronomer to observe, in the 17th century, the 60 or so moons of the planet Saturn. He also gave his name to the space probe that sent back to Earth the photographs of Saturn and its moons in 1997, these photographs being the ones on which Thomas Ruff then based his series of the same name. The resulting images are distinguished by bright, strong colours and geometrical forms, their sheer aesthetic simplicity conveying a calmness and clarity that belie the technological complexity of their background.
"Zycles" is Thomas Ruff's most recent group of works. This series constitutes yet a further step towards deconstructing the process of photographic production and reproduction and, like the "Cassini" images, has a scientific background: the circulating coloured lines on the large-formats are based on mathematical calculations. Ruff drew his inspiration for these images from 19th century copperplate engravings depicting electromagnetic fields. Using mathematical figures, such as cycloids, and 3D computer software, the artist transforms the lines into three-dimensional curves and interweaves them into abstract formations, finally reducing them to two-dimensionality in the form a printed images. The coloured, dynamically curved, interweaving lines spread across the entire picture plane and create an infinite virtual picture space, the exploration of which becomes – through the absence of all possible points of reference – a playful and sensorily exciting experience. Besides the white-backgrounded "Zycles", which as pigment prints on canvas almost seem to have the character of drawings, Thomas Ruff will also be showing at the Rüdiger Schöttle Gallery – and this will be their première – his "Dark Zycles", the black backgrounds of which will yet again awaken associations with outer space.