Thomas Ruff : Aesthetic of the Pixel



where I got the image above by Thomas Ruff

David Campany’s Review of ‘JPEGs’ By Thomas Ruff

J M Colberg’s Review of ‘JPEGs’ By Thomas Ruff

I have read and dissected both reviews by David Campany and J m Colberg.

Campany’s review of Ruff’s work is the longest of the two and is more detailed, he seems to have an understanding of what Ruff was trying to achieve. On the other hand Colberg’s review had a  much more unsure feel to it, he failed to find the concept behind the work. Personally I agree more with Colberg’s review as its more honest and to the point. He doesn’t understand the concept but can admire the beauty of it “everything would have been fine if there hadn’t been so many attempts to convince me that in reality ‘JPEGs’ is more”. I also can see where Campany is coming from, that Ruff’s work is definitely demanding, it either provokes discontent or provokes beauty.  “it seems to belong to everybody and nobody and as a result we are neither free to look just as individuals nor to respond collectively either” I find this particularly interesting as it the subject of his work rather than the medium that is causing this, everything he used is a scene that can’t be recreated its also something that is mainly public and thought provoking, natural disasters don’t just happen to one person they happen to a community, the pixels themselves also appear as a community but can be singled out alone.

Campany focuses on the actual image more then Colberg, he talks about the pixel being “grid-like, mechanic and repetitive” ” we switch from looking at figuration to abstraction”.  Both reviews have context, Colberg talks about  ‘compression algorithms’ and briefly adds that “the role of photography is changing through its online use” I feel that that is still very relevant now, ten years later.  Campany mentions archives and how the internet has become an archive of digital data, he also mentions Pop, Minimalism, Conceptualism, Dada, Surrealism and Cubism.

In conclusion I feel both reviews have interesting points of view but to me every time I look at his work, JPEGs I am waiting for the image to load properly and it never will.


The above photo is my own, I resized the image to 180 X 270 Pixels and got  this effect.


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