Thomas Ruff - Photographs London Wednesday, November 2, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Sébastien Janssen, Brussels

  • Literature

    M. Winzen, ed., Thomas Ruff: 1979 to the Present, D.A.P., 2001, p. 196, STE 3.04
    Thomas Ruff: Stellar Landscapes, Kehrer, 2011, p. 12

  • Catalogue Essay

    ‘My images are not images of reality, but show a kind of second reality, the image of the image.’

    Thomas Ruff

    In his Sterne series (1989 -1992), Thomas Ruff takes the objectivity of documentation in photography into a dialogue between reality and art. Using high-resolution negatives obtained from the archives of the European Southern Observatory, Ruff cropped, printed and repositioned the negatives of the night sky above Chile. In the present work, we experience the transformation from scientific document to art, whereby a seemingly objective image is viewed as abstracted beauty. The work confronts us with our tendency to impose what we think we see. When we look at a star in the night sky, we are not seeing the actual star itself, but a trace of light travelling across time and space. And that too is what defines a photograph – light traces on paper of something that no longer exists.


Sterne 11h 12m/-35°

Chromogenic print, face-mounted to Plexiglas, printed 2008.
Image: 200.5 x 133.7 cm (78 7/8 x 52 5/8 in.)
Frame: 258.5 x 186.2 cm (101 3/4 x 73 1/4 in.)

Signed, titled, dated and numbered 2/2 in pencil on the reverse of the frame.

£50,000 - 70,000 

Sold for £56,250

Contact Specialist
Genevieve Janvrin
Head of Photographs, Europe
+44 20 7318 4092


London Auction 3 November 2016