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Thomas RUFF

Germany born 1958

Portrait (Christoph Steinmeyer) 1989 Place made: Dusseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Düsseldorf district, Germany
Materials & Technique: photographs, Type C colour photograph type C photograph

Dimensions: printed image 158.0 h x 120.0 w cm Frame 206.4 h x 165.0 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1993
Accession No: NGA 93.85

Ruff’s monumental, neutrally-posed portraits of young friends and associates emphasise the face in a way that is quite unprecedented in the history of photography. Rarely are we given the opportunity to become so intimate with the face of a stranger as to be able to study their pores, facial hair and other features. However, and in spite of this proximity, in the end the portraits fail to reveal anything of their sitter. As Ruff has stated: ‘I believe that photography can only reproduce the surface of things’.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra