Thomas Ruff: Edition "ma.r.s.15", 2011/12

Edition 2012

The retrospective of Thomas Ruff's work, on view at Haus der Kunst from 17.02.12 to 20.05.12, was arranged in chronological order according to his artistic development. It began with series of works that gained Ruff international recognition in the 1980s – his series of interiors and portraits whose conception of the image contradicted traditional convention. Over the past 30 years, Thomas Ruff (born 1958) has continued to explore the formal and technical aspects of analogue and digital photography and, for some series, appropriated outside material, which he then processes, transforming it into fine art.

In his most recent series "ma.r.s.", which the artist began in 2010, the artist creates fiction based on astronomical facts. Ruff uses the publicly accessible material from NASA's website: Documentary, topographical views of Mars, which the space probe "Mars Renaissance Orbiter" has been sending back to Earth since 2005. The planet's reddish color is due to iron oxide dust, and, like the earth, it has polar ice caps and changing seasons – its surface shows impressions of former riverbeds and craters. The high-resolution, black-and-white digital images sent back from the spacecraft reproduce this surface accurately.

Ruff edits the original material, compressing it so that the craters stretch into ovals. In addition to the coloring, this leads to a change in the psychology of perception: A top view becomes an elevation that simulates the approach toward the planet from the perspective of an astronaut in the distant future. Thus, in many ways, the works function as a time machine. They show both dark streaks of the sand storms that took place on the planet long ago, and the perspective that future visitors to Mars will have. The edition "ma.r.s.15" also shows a surface of Mars that Ruff took from the NASA website and translated into images of fragile beauty.

Thomas Ruff
"ma.r.s.15", 2011/12
Chromogenic print
88.2 x 67.5 cm
Edition: 50 (including 10 AP)
Signed and numbered on back, framed
€ 2,800 (including tax, shipping extra)

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Okwui Enwezor, opening of the exhibition; Thomas Ruff: Edition "ma.r.s.15", 2011/12

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