Dark Matter. Thomas Ruff & James Welling: Cat. Kunsthalle Bielefeld (Paperback)
Thomas Ruff (born 1958) and James Welling (born 1951) are two of the most well-known photographic artists of the present day. They explore in their works the conditions of visual perception, also in relation to our use of the photographic apparatus, and the conditioning of our view of the world through photographic images. The exhibition “ Dark Matter. Thomas Ruff and James Welling” and the accompanying catalog of the same name focus on works that wrest new possibilities from the photographic image and expand our capacity for imagination. We perceive our environment subjectively; we see and feel it against the backdrop of what we can grasp and understand in images and words that have been handed to us. About eighty percent of the matter in the universe consists of a substance we know little about: Dark Matter. Does the same apply to the photographic image? Does it hide more than it shows?
Stefan Gronert (born 1964) art historian, is considered one of the most renowned photo theorists and curators in Europe. He accompanied the furious rise of the Dü sseldorf Becher School early on as a volunteer at the Kunstmuseum Bonn (1993), exhibited them, and published widely on it (including 2009 the hughe volume Die Dü sseldorfer Photoschule, Schirmer/Mosel, Munich). In addition, he has published amongst others on Rieke Dijkstra, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, Jeff Wall, and recently on Fiona Tan. Since 2016 he is curator for photography and media art at the Sprengel Museum Hannover. James Welling (born 1951) is an American artist, photographer and educator living in New York City. He attended Carnegie-Mellon University where he studied drawing with Gandy Brodie and at the University of Pittsburgh where he took modern dance classes. Welling transferred to the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California in 1971 and received a BFA and an MFA in the School of Art. At Cal Arts, he studied with John Baldessari, Wolfgang Stoerchle and Jack Goldstein. He is widely collected, for example by Art Instiute of Chicago, Hammer Museum Los Angeless et al. Rob Slifkin is Professor of Fine Arts at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Thomas Ruff (born 1958) is a German photographer who lives and works in Dü sseldorf. He has been described as “ a master of edited and reimagined images.” Commenting on his influences, Ruff said, “ my teacher Bernd Becher, showed us photographs by Stephen Shore, Joel Meyerowitz, and the new American colour photographers.” He is often compared with other members of a prominent generation of European photographers that includes Thomas Struth, Andreas Gursky, and Rineke Dijkstra. From 2000 to 2005, Ruff taught photography at the Kunstakademie Dü sseldorf. Christina Vé gh (born 1970) is a Swiss art historian and curator, she studied art history at the University of Zurich at the University of California in Santa Cruz. She completed her studies, with minors in ethnology and philosophy, with a thesis on the Cuban-American artist Jorge Pardo. In 2005, Christina Vé gh took over as director of the Bonn Kunstverein. Succeeding Veit Gö rner, she became the 11th director of the Kestnergesellschaft in Hanover 2015 and was the first woman to do so. Since February 2020 she is now the director of the Kunsthalle Bielefeld.