Sterne 1h 55m - 30º
Date 1989
Medium Chromogenic print
Dimensions 257.8 x 186 cm
Inventory ID UID 102-504
Thomas Ruff studied at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf. After hesitating between studying astronomy and photography, he finally decided to enrol in the academy. (‘Without expecting too much, I sent the Kunstakademie twenty good photographs, one of which showed my bicycle. They accepted me even though I was, as that time, more drawn to the sky than to contemporary art, which was a shock to me because at the beginning I understood nothing.’) He studied, most notably, under Gerhard Richter and Bernd and Hilla Becher. Ruff exhibited his first portraits in 1981 (of anonymous people with expressive faces) and quickly acquired a certain renown. Developed in large format, these tend to suggest that the photographic portrait ‘only reproduces the surface of things, without ever being able to grasp the content.’ The artist favours relatively short sittings, and only gives a single instruction to his models: to look at him ‘with a lot of confidence.’ In the early 1990s Thomas Ruff acquired negatives from the European Southern Observatory and produced enlargements of constellations seen in the southern hemisphere. The series obtained is entitled Sterne (Stars). A short time later, he selected magazine photos, cut them out and enlarged them. All this is exhibited, without the least explanation, with the title Zeitungsphoto (Newspaper Photo). He then selected photos from the internet, such as in 2000, the series Nudes and then Substrates, using Japanese manga. J-FC