A significant portion of Thomas Ruff’s production consists of series of works that stem from a reflection on certain specific photographic subjects and on the traditional codes with which modernity has represented them throughout the twentieth century.
The portrait is the first genre to which Ruff turned his attention, beginning in the early 1990s. A fully resolved method of appropriation and intervention emerged from that group of works, one which the artist has gone on to apply, with variations, in subsequent series.
Ruff modifies the modern practice of the frontal, passport-size portrait and expands its dimensions to those typical of the celebratory portrait. However, he completely disregards the personalizing nature of the portrait, removing any individual traits. [...]