Contemporary Photography

Thomas Ruff, Cindy Sherman

The perspectives of Cindy Sherman and Thomas Ruff represent the photographic focus of the permanent exhibition. First glances at both offer sober and unadorned views of reality, but these are shattered with a second.

The U.S. photographer Cindy Sherman, on the right, explores stereotypical representations of femininity and identity in her oeuvre. Her audience is aesthetically provoked by exaggeration and costuming of her sitters. The relentless photographs blow past classic ideals of beauty and norms and inquire why you might find them to be grotesque. Sherman does not shy away from slipping into the role of the model herself, resorting to the art of masquerade. At the same time, her protagonists are empowered, thrusting themselves at the judgmental view from the outside–just to throw it back at us. Since the late 1970s, her photographs have served as personified mirrors of conventional notions of gender and pursue their subversion.

Thomas Ruff’s constellations reveal the pregnant woman as a contrast, zooming out from the close-up view to the widest angle available to science and technology. Using photographs from the European Southern Observatory, the artist crops photographic material and settles on a self-defined fragment. This lends an aesthetic substance which, similar to Sherman, sets the stage for a delightful play between proximity and distance as well as the tangible and pure imagination.

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