ma.r.s. 2

Johnen Galerie is proud to present Thomas Ruff ’s new series ma.r.s., opening on October 9th, 2010, during art forum berlin. This is the world premiere of this new body of work.

After the ‘Zycles’ series (since 2008), Thomas Ruff has taken up ma.r.s. as a new visual challenge. In the context of his research about image-generating means of photography the artist came across high-resolution photographs of Mars, taken by a satellite with a HiRISE (High Resoluton Imaging Science Experiment) camera that NASA made accessible to the public via the internet.

Ruff starts by transforming the images that were shot by a satellite from a straight down angle, so that the perspective seems to be that of a plane traveler’s, looking upon the planets. Thus the viewer gets the impression of being able to see Mars’ surface from close proximity. In addition, Ruff colorizes the originally black and white photos and thereby accentuates the extraordinary characteristics of these landscapes, without changing their character in any way. As a result breathtakingly beautiful images of deserts and crater landscapes come into being, all located on an inconceivably distant planet, yet seemingly familiar. In consideration of the ongoing discussions about possibilities of generally accessible, manned space travel, these pictures can almost be seen as a virtual anticipation of future travel imagery.

This series demonstrates the ongoing examination of most advanced technology together with objective documentation and formal elegance in Ruff’s œuvre. His interest has for a long time been directed towards the enormous collective efforts necessary for developing new photographic techniques. In Ruff’s ma.r.s. series, images that were originally exclusive to a relatively small circle of scientists are now accessible to a wider audience. This is being achieved decidedly by Ruff’s artistic treatment that reveals the full spectrum of esthetic qualities inherent to the scientific original. The artist takes the viewer on a travel to experience the beauty of outer space.

Thomas Ruff (b. 1958 in Zell am Harmersbach, Germany) studied from 1977 to 1982 at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf with Professor Bernd and Hilla Becher. In 1995, he represented Germany at the Venice Biennale with works from his series “Andere Porträts” and “Stereofotos”. Since 2000 Thomas Ruff is professor at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. The Kunsthalle Baden-Baden presented a first retrospective of his works in 2002; in 2006 Thomas Ruff received the Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography in New York.