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Thomas Ruff: tableaux chinois

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Published by Sugar & Cream, Thursday 21 January 2021

Text & images courtesy of David Zwirner, Paris

David Zwirner, Paris; January 14- March 6, 2021

David Zwirner is pleased to present recent photographs by the German artist Thomas Ruff at the gallery’s Paris location. The exhibition will feature works from Ruff’s tableaux chinois series (2019–), which debuted in fall 2020.

Thomas Ruff
tableau chinois_06
2019
© Thomas Ruff/VG Bild Kunst, Bonn/Artists
Rights Society (ARS), New York
Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner


Thomas Ruff
tableau chinois_04
2019
© Thomas Ruff/VG Bild Kunst, Bonn/Artists
Rights Society (ARS), New York
Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner

Ruff rose to international prominence in the late 1980s as a member of the Düsseldorf School, a group of young photographers who had studied under Bernd and Hilla Becher at the renowned Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and became known for their experimental approach to the medium and its evolving technological capabilities.

Thomas Ruff
tableau chinois_09
2019
© Thomas Ruff/VG Bild Kunst, Bonn/Artists
Rights Society (ARS), New York
Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner


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Thomas Ruff
tableau chinois_10
2019
© Thomas Ruff/VG Bild Kunst, Bonn/Artists
Rights Society (ARS), New York
Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner

Ruff’s tableaux chinois arose out of his long-standing interest in the genre of propaganda photography—inherently at conflict with the medium’s mimetic capability as it presents an ideologically inflected version of reality. In the early 2000s, Ruff came across a coffee table book on Mao Zedong that grandly valorized the Chinese leader’s life and achievements, and became interested in Mao not only as a political figure but also as a cultural reference point, depicted by a range of Western artists—most notably, Andy Warhol.

Thomas Ruff
tableau chinois_11
2019
© Thomas Ruff/VG Bild Kunst, Bonn/Artists
Rights Society (ARS), New York
Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner


Thomas Ruff
tableau chinois_17
2019
© Thomas Ruff/VG Bild Kunst, Bonn/Artists
Rights Society (ARS), New York
Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner

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