Thomas Ruff - Portrait (J. Renzel)
Portrait (J. Renzel)
C-Print unter Plexiglas (Diasec). Im Originalrahmen.
“It was around 1980 that Thomas Ruff first started to focus his attention on the ‘portrait’ as a genre, a type of picture which had played no more than a minor role at the Düsseldorf Academy at the time. [...] He opted for half-length portraits and for a depiction that was as neutral as possible, so that the focus was on the face of the subject, yet without turning the photograph into a psychological interpretation. Each person was photographed as though they were a plaster bust, on the assumption that a photograph can merely render things at a superficial level. Quite soon, in 1981, he specified the conditions under which photographs were to be taken: The subject had to sit on a stool, wearing everyday clothes, and was then photographed with a serious, quiet face. Any form of emotional involvement had to be avoided, such as smiling, grinning or ‘flirting’ with the camera. As models for his portrait, he intuitively selected individuals from his own environment: friends and acquaintances in his own age group whom he knew from the Academy or from Düsseldorf’s night life on Ratinger Strasse. [ …] Between 1984 and 1986 Thomas Ruff repeatedly experimented with formats of his ‘portraits’ in his quest for something other than the ‘reduced reality’ of a 24 x 18 format. When, in 1986, it became possible for him to produce five copies at the maximum width of the photographic paper, he discovered that he had created a completely new picture. Enlargement meant that the eyes and facial expression of the subject were intensified while at the same time putting the focus on the visual impact of the photograph.” (Quoted from: Mathias Winzen (ed.), Thomas Ruff. Fotografien 1979 – heute, Cologne 2001, pp. 180/183)