Thomas Ruff: Transforming Photography

Why We Recommend it

Spanning his nearly four-decade-long career, ‘Transforming Photography’ offers an overview of renowned contemporary German photographer Thomas Ruff’s (b. 1958) versatile works.


“I always want to take the medium of photography into the picture, so that you are always aware that you are looking at an image—a photograph—so, in the picture I hope you can see two things: the image itself, plus the reflection—or the thinking—about photography…. It is as if I am investigating the grammar of photography.” – Thomas Ruff in a 2009 interview with foto8

Marking Thomas Ruff’s tenth solo exhibition with David Zwirner since joining the gallery in 2000, ‘Transforming Photography’ spans two floors of the gallery’s Hong Kong location. The exhibition will provide an overview of the artist’s prodigious career, ranging from seminal early series to a new body of work. On view will be examples from a number of key series including Sterne (1989-1992), Nudes (1999–), Substrate (2001–), jpeg (2004–), Photograms (2012–), Tripe (2018), and flower.s (2018–).

Ruff rose to international prominence in the late 1980s as a member of the Düsseldorf School, a group of young photographers who had studied under influential German conceptual artists and photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher at the renowned Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. This generation of photographers became known for their experimental approach to the medium and its evolving technological capabilities. Ruff in particular made a radical break with the style of his teachers, establishing a distinct approach to conceptual photography through a variety of strategies, including the use of colour, the purposeful manipulation of source imagery—originally through manual retouching techniques and eventually through digital methods—and the enlargement of the photographic print to the scale of monumental painting. Working in discrete series, Ruff has since utilised these methods to conduct an in-depth examination of a variety of photographic genres, including portraiture, the nude, landscape, and architectural photography, among others.





When: 22 May 2019 - 29 Jun 2019 Where: David Zwirner, 5-6/F, H Queen's – 80 Queen's Road Central – Central