new-york

Thomas Ruff

303 Gallery

In Thomas Ruff’s latest photographs lurid green light shines on residential and industrial buildings, the ragged edges of a nameless, graceless city. The illuminated scenes appear through a circular viewfinder, with the photographs’ edges darkened, as if the photographer were scanning the scene of a crime. The bizarre hue and mundane subject matter are unexpectedly mysterious, an effect heightened by the absence of any sign of life. A row of desolate warehouses suggests covert activity; an oblique view of an inscrutable facade resembles the much-reproduced shots of the building from which Oswald allegedly fired at JFK.

In past works, Ruff challenged our tendency to read meanings into photographic images by presenting subjects conspicuous only for their glaring banality. Undistinguished domestic interiors, nondescript urban facades, even portraits of “ordinary people” resembling passport

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