2005 Thomas Ruff Born: Zell am Harmersbach, Germany 1958 chromogenic print 109 3/4 x 72 3/4 in. (278.8 x 184.7 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Sarah and Gary Wolkowitz 2010.55 Not currently on view
The events of September 11, 2001, have left an indelible mark on the physical and emotional landscape of the United States. Television, print, and web-based media outlets were flooded with photographs and video of the collapsing Twin Towers in the days following the attacks. The Internet quickly became one of the largest and most accessible repositories for 9/11 imagery, inspiring the work of German artist Thomas Ruff. For jpeg de01, Ruff downloaded a digital photograph from the Internet and then enlarged it beyond the limits of the original low-resolution file. The result is an unsettling and unfamiliar representation of the now iconic World Trade Center site. The towers appear to disintegrate before our eyes---a patchwork of pixels that frustrates our attempt to see the image clearly and suggests the inconsistent nature of collective memory.
Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2011
Following the events of September 11, 2001, the internet quickly became the largest and most accessible repository for 9/11 imagery. For jpeg de01, Thomas Ruff downloaded a digital photograph of the destroyed World Trade Center buildings and enlarged it beyond the limits of the original low-resolution file. The towers appear to disintegrate into a patchwork of pixels that frustrates our attempts to see the image clearly and suggests the inconsistent nature of collective memory.
Read research notes for jpeg de01. (pdf)
photography - photoprint