PRINT Summer 2001



*Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was fond of quoting Augustine's dictum that “Beauty is the splendor of Truth.” Indeed, a dedication to beauty in truth permitted Mies to see over the heads of his contemporaries and glimpse what modern architecture would become. German artist Thomas Ruff's appreciation of what it means to make photography modern is likewise undiluted—though Ruff's relation to the “truth” of his medium is somewhat more complicated. In fact, the proposition that photography is not the unmediated bearer of truth it was once thought to be but is, on the contrary, conceptual to the core is the pivot on which Ruff's practice turns. That photography is not truthful is the truth Ruff has to tell.

In this respect, it was an inspired decision on the part of curator Julian Heynen to ask Ruff to make photographs of Mies's architecture, leading Bernd and Hilda Becher's former student to photograph

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