|Thomas Ruff Feb 10-Mar 9 '96 at 303 Gallery
When Thomas Ruff was introduced as an "up and coming" artist at Art Cologne in 1987, the 150th birthday of photography was approaching, with all its accompanying foofaraw. The interest in Ruff at such a time was both curious and appropriate, since his work retrospectively invalidates a fundamental notion about photography throughout its history: the idea of its documentary "reality."...
Ruff's ongoing oeuvre comprises four groups of images---portraits, buildings, the stars, and, most recently, rephotographed newspaper pictures---that were begun consecutively but that he continually expands. ---Annelie Pohlen (ARTFORUM)
Can a portrait do more than record the mask a person presents to the world? The answer offered by Thomas Ruff, a German photographer, is a resounding, No.
...In an essay on clothes, Montaigne wrote of a beggar who on a cold night was scolded by a gentleman for being dressed in nothing but rags. "But you sir, have your face exposed," the beggar replied. "Well, I am all face." Ruff's people, too, are all face, and fascinating because of it.---Charles Hagan (NEW YORK TIMES)