Entradas populares

lunes, 12 de mayo de 2014

El espacio sideral y tridimensional de Thomas Ruff

 Fotografía 3D para representar el espacio, nunca mejor dicho.

Thomas Ruff es sin duda uno de los mejores fotógrafos de Alemania , a pesar de que rara vez  toma una foto. Ha construido su legado en la comprensión de la tecnología y la imagen de la apropiación , centradas en temas que van desde la pornografía en Internet al espacio exterior. Cuando Ruff comenzó, sus fotografías eran austeras y se centraron en los edificios industriales olvidados de Alemania. Más tarde sus retratos de cuerpo medio gigantes de gente mirando directamente a la lente de la cámara volvieron a despertar el interés por el género .De alguna manera, Ruff ha estado continuamente re-examinando el retrato. En la década de 1990 , utilizando el Minolta Montage, parte del equipo que la policía utiliza para combinar los rasgos faciales de varios sospechosos, creó retratos de personas que en realidad no existen. En un trabajo más reciente Ruff descargó y borró parcialmente imágenes pornográficas de la web y los imprimió en grandes telas que crean una especie de retrato de la sexualidad humana y el deseo. Con los años, su trabajo se ha vuelto más abstracto y cada vez  se aleja
más de la fotografía tradicional .Hoy Ruff opera en un cuarto oscuro totalmente digital. Por sus Fotogramas de trabajo más recientes, una toma en la Bauhaus, crea objetos en un programa de ordenador en 3-D y luego hace las sombras de los objetos en un software de simulación de la luz - . El resultado es una serie de imágenes abstractas de colores que haría que Man Ray se volviera celoso.Recientemente se ha apropiado de una colección de imágenes de la NASA  del Planeta Rojo.

Recomiendo la entrevista con Ruth Reader para MOTHERBOARD, que transcribo parcialmente a continuación con algunas de sus imágenes, seguida de otras entradas de interés acerca de otros de sus interesantes proyectos.

Considero el trabajo de Ruff lo más interesante que se produce en la fotografía (y el arte en general) en la actualidad exceptuando las obras de Joan Fontcuberta.

Entrada original de MOTHERBOARD en http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/thomas-ruff-digital-darkroom-mars-photograms

Photographs Without Cameras: Going to Mars in Thomas Ruff's Bauhaus Spaceship

Thomas Ruff is arguably one of Germany’s best photographers, even though he rarely snaps a photo. He’s built his legacy on tech savvy and image appropriation, focusing on themes ranging from Internet porn to outer space. When Ruff started out, his photographs were austere and focused on Germany’s forgotten industrial buildings. He later shifted to mug-shot-esque portraiture. His giant half-bodied portraits of people staring directly into the camera lens reawakened an interest in the genre.
In some way, Ruff has been continually re-examining the portrait. In the 1990’s, using the Minolta Montage, a piece of police equipment used to combine facial features of multiple suspects, he created portraits of people who didn’t actually exist. In more recent work Ruff downloaded and blurred pornographic images from the web and printed them on large canvases creating a sort of portraiture of human sexuality and desire. Over the years, his work has gotten more abstract and increasingly veers away from traditional photography. 
Today Ruff operates in an entirely digital darkroom. For his most recent work Photograms, a take on Bauhaus, he creates objects in a 3-D computer program and then renders the objects' shadows in a light-simulating software. The result is a series of colorful abstract images that would make Man Ray jealous.
Photograms is showing alongside m a r.s., a collection of appropriated NASA images of the Red Planet. I caught up with Ruff at a walk-through of his show at New York's David Zwirner Gallery to discuss Mars, stars, and the future of photography.
Motherboard: Appropriated images, which you use frequently in your work, are increasingly making their way into the art world. Do you think that what has happened to music is happening to photography?
Ruff: Yes, I guess there will be more appropriation, more sampling, like within music, but for me that is not the question or problem. It is really what you do with those images that counts.
In your series Nudes you appropriate pornographic images from the web and alter them in such a way that they become a shadow of the original. In other interviews you’ve talked about using appropriated media to create a grammar or language. How were you doing that in Nudes?
I think I said that, yes. The nudes are not so much about the media of photography, but about the distribution and how photographs are looked at even though, yes of course, they are photographs. But, I think in that case it was more about distribution and how people receive those images.
How do you think that idea relates to your series m a r.s.?
I’m not sure. So of course m a r.s. the images are definitely appropriated, but quite a big part of them is working with them and transforming them into the images they are now on the wall. I wouldn’t even say they are appropriated. [I] just use a source and then transform them into the image I wanted.
Top: nudes ku12, 2001. Cibachrome with Diasec; Bottom: 11h 12m/ -35°, 1989 from the Stars series
So much of your work is manipulated images, Why?
I wouldn’t call this manipulation, I would call this creation. Manipulation is a bad way of treatment either to people or objects or images, yes. I would call them creations, not manipulations. I have been working on manipulations, but to enlighten people to be careful when they are looking at photographs and not trust too much into photography. Because, yes, photography can be easily manipulate[d] especially since we are in the digital age. Alteration and manipulation has become easier and of course advertising is always lying.
You’ve done a lot of work that focuses on celestial entities starting first with your series Stars in 1989 and now again with your series m a r.s. What draws you to outer space?
Everyone should be interested in astronomy! Because cosmology can tell us where we come from and it may not be able to tell us where we go to, but for me astronomy is very essential in my life.
How do your photographs get at that?
So if I take Stars, probably it was that at that time I was very successful as a young artist in photography and I really wanted to show that there is scientific photography that is really beautiful and interesting. So at that time I created Stars
I must confess that I don’t create images for other people. First of all it is my curiosity that drives me creating those. If I then think that this could be something of interest for other people then I decide to make them public. So with m a r.s. it was just my interest. It was probably 2009 or '10 when I discovered new and exciting images on the NASA homepage. Those were the images [from] the mars reconnaissance orbiter. This orbiter had a camera called a high rise orbiter, developed by the University of Arizona and this camera really was incredible because it has a resolution at about 1 meter. If you’re looking at the surface of mars on these images, the smallest detail has the diameter of about 1 meter. I was really shocked when I saw these high resolution images. Then what I wanted to do was to travel once around mars showing all different landscapes that exist on Mars.
Top: 3D-ma.r.s.09,’ 2013; Bottom: ma.r.s.08 II, 2012
With m a r.s. you use extreme close ups of the planet’s topography.
I wanted to show the variation of the different landscapes. So you have a lot of impact craters, you have a lot of desert with sand dunes and strange geological formations, you have geysers blowing up dust in the air and then making these beautiful features so actually I did not know what to show with these images - but I just was fascinated.
Some of the works in ma r.s. are 3-D anaglyphs. How did you achieve the almost surreal proportions of mars’ geological formations?
What I did was two things. Those images they were black and white and they had this kind of very long format. The first thing what I did was I compressed the image slightly and what happened then was you can see it here, the background slightly came up. So then you did not have the impression to look from a rocket or from the orbit down to the Martian landscape, but it’s kind of an aerial view as if you sit in an airplane looking down on the Martian landscape and of course that is completely fictional.
These Mars images they are on the one hand realistic on the other hand they are fictional. I think this is a big question in contemporary photography. I think many of my colleagues are busy on this issue.
I then discovered that NASA even did 3-d images from the Martian landscape. These are stereoscopic images so they are two images but taken by a slightly different angle and then superimposed with the red and green anaglyph method and if you now take the red-green glasses you can really see the Martian surface coming out, moving towards you. This of course is also kind of an absurdity.
From Photograms, 2012

I was not at all interested in creating a new technology to create Photograms. I was attracted by the fact what you see on those images are not objects, they are just the shadows and a glimpse of an object. It’s just remnants. Even though they are virtual, they are virtually physically not there

You seem to be very drawn to abstraction both in m a r.s. and Photograms. Why?
Maybe because photography is so realistic. Every photographer is trying to go beyond this realism and get a small amount of abstraction in his work. Maybe I also had this kind of need.
You seem to take that notion even farther with Photograms. There are barely any recognizable shapes in these works.
So when I had the idea I was not at all interested in creating a new technology to create Photograms. I was really attracted by the images. And I was also attracted by the fact what you see on those images are not objects, they are just the shadows and a glimpse of an object. It’s just remnants. Even though they are virtual, they are virtually physically not there. It’s just the shadow that you see, or the inverted shadow. In the very beginning we tried to go close to Moholy Nagy. He used a lot of Bauhaus-designed objects.
How did you decide what technology to use to make these images?
That’s very simple. If you want to make a photograph of something very far away and you only have a 55 millimeter lens then you have to buy a 200 millimeter lens. And if you know that there’s a 200 millimeter lens you need to borrow it or buy it. And if the technology doesn’t exist well then you need to custom make it.
So how does your digital dark room work differently than Moholy Nagy’s traditional dark room?
[The objects] are not scanned, they are completely created here. The nice thing in the virtual darkroom, if you have an object, in the very beginning, it has no material. And then you can decide which material you can give to this object. I could give a mat paper to this so it would throw only a shadow. If I were to use the plastic or glass I would have refractions on the paper through this glass, and if I would put chromium on this bottle I would have a shadow and at the same time the chromium would produce light beams on the paper around.
Even in this case [of the] spirals, we put light on the spirals [and] we put the emitter at the material on the spirals and so now the spiral is throwing a shadow and at the same time its lighting other objects on the paper. Of course these are things that Moholy Nagy would have dreamed of. Yes with these new technologies there are more possibilities.
From Photograms, 2012
So probably if Moholy Nagy wanted to have this [object] standing like this, he had to have a small tile to fix it. What we do, plop, it’s fixed. And if I don’t like it I turn it around or do it like that or that. During rendering everything stays in the place where we put it. And so if we look at that when it’s finished rendering I can decide this is a nice composition, or I have to move objects, I have to add objects, I have to take out objects. And in the beginning we also thought we should give chance a chance. So we built a kind of a cloner where we could put in all of the objects and then we let them fall. They are animated and they fall on the paper, and yes, then they are fixed. And they are fixed also in time slices. I can go back. That is the advantage of these virtual dark rooms.
The other thing is we could then add color. We no longer depend on the black and white paper, which is not sensible to RGB. The other thing is we did not have to decide is, this bottle is only 20 centimeter or is it one meter. There was no scaling. The scaling came after looking at the first rendering and then you decide what kind of resolution you want to have, and in this case I went back to my standard format which is about 180 wide and about 250 high.

You have to render the images, and if we put them all together as one computer, one of those images would render in one week. One week, yes. And then you cannot do anything more with those computers. They are blocked, they are working

Any draw backs to the digital darkroom?
Yes. One problem we have is, we have really three beautiful fat Macintosh where we are working creating the photograms. And then yes, you have to render the images, and if we put them all together as one computer one of those images would render in one week. One week, yes. And then you cannot do anything more with those computers. They are blocked, they are working. And so, that was the reason that we built a small render farm. So we bought four PCs, just building what we need for rendering, and they are on the next floor. Now we send the data up there and now those six PCs are now rendering and they are not as big as the Macintoshes, but they can now render such an image in four days. And that was a problem because of the scheduled exhibition here. So we had to finish all of the works in four weeks. But now it’s very comfortable working. So we send the data up and a couple of days later we have the image and if you don’t have a tight schedule then that’s okay.
What do you think the future of photography is? Do you think technology will affect the kind of content the next generation of young artists will produce?
I must confess I have no idea what will be the future of photography, but of course I am very curious what the next generation or the next-next generation of young artists will do with photography.
I don’t think it has anything to do with technology. It’s, yes, I guess it depends on the idea, what you want to do with photography. You chose the tool. Either the analog camera or you do it with a very complicated technological system. I’ think that technology has never mattered. What really counts is the idea.
So when was the last time you took a photograph?
I haven’t taken a photograph in a very, very long time.
What’s next for you? Do you think that your work will continue moving toward abstraction?
I don’t even want to think about it. I’m too busy solving problems. If not this one, another one.

Thomas Ruff’s work is on view at the David Zwirner Gallery in New York from March 28, 2013 to April 27, 2013. 525 W 19th Street, New York, NY 10011

Topics: imagery, photos, photography, art, gallery, nasa, Mars, space

Thomas Ruff, entre la ficción y la realidad

  • La Sala Comunidad de Madrid-Alcalá 31 exhibe siete de sus “Series”
  • Es la mayor retrospectiva en España del fotógrafo alemán
  • Sesenta obras de uno de los fotógrafos más cotizados e influyentes
Ir a fotogalería Thomas Ruff: Serie JPEGS Cada una de las obras de Thomas Ruff tiene identidad propia, pero la forma ideal de presentarla es en compañía de otras. Y de esa forma se exponen en la Sala Comunidad de Madrid-Alcalá 31©Thomas Ruff, VEGAP, Madrid, 2013
SARA NÚÑEZ DE ARENASSARA NÚÑEZ DE ARENAS 01.10.2013¿Cuánta realidad hay de veras en una fotografía? ¿Se puede hacer una foto sin coger una cámara? ¿Es una imagen fotográfica o una pintura? ¿Una  fórmula matemática puede transformarse en una instantánea? ¿Es ficción o realidad?
Todas estas preguntas, y alguna más, surgen al adentrarse en la exposición de Thomas Ruff que estos días puede visitarse en la Sala Comunidad de Madrid-Alcalá 31. Una cita ineludible para los conocedores del fotógrafo alemán y una invitación inexcusable para aquellos que todavía no han tenido el gusto y gozan de una mente inquieta.

¿Una foto o un cuadro?

Ruff es lo que yo denominaría un “artista reto”. Y se me ocurre esta expresión porque ante su obra se pueden hacer dos cosas: Caminar por la superficie de sus trabajos y tener una lectura más o menos aproximada. O “retarte” y ponerte a averiguar qué es lo que realmente estás viendo, indagar cómo ha conseguido ésto o aquello, plantearte en definitiva cómo demonios habrá hecho esa foto, ¿o quizá sea un cuadro?
Un fotógrafo a años luz de lo convencional, de los primeros en utilizar el gran formato para sus imágenes, y con una progresión artística que no cesa porque trabaja en una constante experimentación, en una investigación permanente que le convierten en un híbrido de fotógrafo y científico.

Imágenes encontradas

Lo primero que desconcierta al que no conoce su trabajo es saber que muchas de sus imágenes, de sus fotografías, no las ha “disparado” él, no ha cogido físicamente una cámara sino que son, como me contaba en la entrevista, “imágenes encontradas”. Imágenes halladas en archivos, periódicos y en algo que se ha convertido en una fuente inagotable para su trabajo, Internet.
Una “mina de oro” le comentaba mientras charlábamos y con sonrisa traviesa asentía con la cabeza. La página web de la NASA ha alimentado una de sus series más gloriosas, “ma.r.te”. Imágenes originalmente en blanco y negro que él ha tratado con maestría.
Y aquí viene la segunda parte, porque otro de los elementos de ese maravilloso desconcierto o sorpresa ante las fotografías de Ruff viene por el tratamiento que le da a las imágenes y por las diferentes técnicas que utiliza como herramientas para hacer su obra.
“No me importa la técnica”, me decía, “siempre utilizo la técnica que necesito para hacer la fotografía que quiero conseguir. Algunas veces tengo que inventármela o adaptar una que ya existe”.
Toda una invitación, creo yo, para acercarnos a su obra. La curiosidad por saber cómo se las compone este artista, uno de los fotógrafos internacionales más importante de los últimos veinte años. Y si os preguntáis, como hice yo, si cree que la gente es consciente de lo que está viendo, si las personas que se ponen frente a sus imágenes “entienden” de dónde vienen, la respuesta es:
-“Creo que hay mucha gente que no se da cuenta de este tipo de creaciones tecnológicas y piensan que están viendo fotografías”
Y si os asalta la pregunta, como me ocurrió a mí, de si Thomas Ruff sigue haciendo fotos “normales”,  la respuesta es:
-“Desde luego, sigo disparando fotos, tengo dos hijas y soy el encargado de las fotos familiares”.


Thomas Ruff, cuando la fotografía es pintura

Por: | 05 de octubre de 2013
RUFF.phg.01 (1)
phg.01 (2012), de Thomas Ruff
Para László Moholy-Nagy la pintura consistía en el arte de darle forma al color, y la fotografía en algo así como crear formas con la utilización de la luz. Este gran maestro de la Bauhaus elaboró a partir de los años 20 del siglo pasado un amplio aparato teórico sustentando el valor de la fotografía como arte, y no solo como tecnología óptica para el registro de lo real. Ahora bien, para Moholy-Nagy debían establecerse ciertas fronteras entre pintura y fotografía. Con el tiempo se ha visto que esos límites no solo son relativos sino que cada vez se crean mayores deudas y lazos entre ambos.
Casi un siglo después, el alemán Thomas Ruff, toma como ejemplo los fotogramas elaborados por uno de los discípulos del maestro húngaro de la fotografía experimental, Arthur Siegel, como punto de partida para su serie Fotogramas (2012). Algunas de ellas forman parte de la exposición Thomas Ruff / Series, que se exhibe en la Sala Comunidad de Madrid-Alcalá 31.
Moholy-nagy2En la técnica analógica del fotograma (inventada por Man Ray y Moholy-Nagy -imagen a la derecha-, cada uno por separado y con intenciones  distintas, en 1922) no hay un negativo que luego se positiva. Se hace una copia única sobre papel fotográfico y no se pueden cambiar las formas registradas –pequeños objetos que dejan su huella-- sobre él una vez realizada la toma.
Ruff, que reflexionó largamente sobre dos fotogramas de Siegel que había comprado hace algunos años, decidió abordar a su manera un trabajo similar y a la vez radicalmente distinto. Utilizó un cuarto oscuro virtual y trabajó con la ayuda de un programa 3D, que ya había usado en su serie Ciclos, en 2008. En ese laboratorio colocó un papel digital, sobre él diversos objetos de distintas formas y una cámara fija por encima de ello. Se añadió color por medio de luces. Al final se imprime la imagen conseguida.
r.phg03 (2012), de Thomas Ruff
El resultado, copiado a una amplia escala -como buena parte de la obra de Ruff— trae a la mente cierta composición pictórica abstracta, constructivista  y contemporánea, de gran impacto y belleza. Evocadora de los antiguos fotogramas, pero con una nueva identidad.
RUFF.zycles 6024

Zycles 6024 (2009), de Thomas Ruff
En la exposición hay también unos trabajos de la serie Ciclos (Zycles), de impresión de tinta sobre lienzo. Están inspiradas en gráficos de ondas electromagnéticas. Son dibujos generados por ordenador que surgen a partir de fórmulas matemáticas. ¿Por qué los presenta como pintura sobre lienzo, como un cuadro, una pintura?
Si en el siglo XIX el descubrimiento del proceso fotográfico dio un golpe mortal a la primacía de la pintura, que –afortunadamente- se vio obligada a explorar derroteros distintos, en el XXI la relación entre estas dos artes sigue siendo endogámica.  Se retroalimentan y forman en ocasiones el mismo cuerpo. No hay límites entre una y otra, hay Historia. Y Ruff es un artista de género. Retrato y paisaje tienen un lugar relevante en su creación. Thomas Ruff no inventa. Se recrea y da giros distintos a imágenes existentes.  A veces es acrobacia creativa y otras piruetas menos convincentes.
3D m.a.r.t.e. 01 (2012), de Thomas Ruff
La exposición se completa con muestras de ejemplos de otras series, algunas ya vistas en exposiciones en la galería madrileña del fotógrafo alemán, Helga de Alvear, como JPEGS y m.a.r.t.e.  Estas últimas requieren de gafas 3D que consiguen un efecto de volumen cambiante, casi cinético (cambia a medida que el espectador se desplaza delante de ella), de la superficie del planeta vecino.
Ruff ha manifestado en ocasiones su rechazo a la idea de autor y la idealización de la obra única. También señala el falso concepto de realidad creado por la fotografía. Todo es manipulación. La muestra, comisariada por José Manuel Costa y Lorena Martínez de Corral es, en todo caso, una excelente oportunidad de someterse al influjo de esa poderosas imágenes. Vengan de donde vengan.