AUGUST CHALLENGE DAY 22
For the Silly Season I've set myself the challenge of visiting a different art exh bition on every day of the month and blogging about it.
Saturday 22 August
Exhibition: Thomas Ruff nature morte
Place: Gagosian, Davies Street, London
Many of today’s more creative art photographers are from Germany and for twenty-five years Thomas Ruff has been one of the foremost. This small display pays tribute to factors that were for a long time at the heart of every photographer's work, but have now completely disappeared – the darkroom, the chemicals, the safe light and the flimsy piece of plastic that all these existed to work on, the negative. The pictures in Ruff's show are nothing more complicated than negative prints of flower photographs, but they do manage to evoke the entire craft of photographic dark-room developing, whose skills are now for most people surplus to all photographic requirements.
The prints are also rather mesmerising in themselves, though in a way that's easier to see than to describe. I was struck by how legible they actually are. The negs I used to deal with in the dark room were usually quite hard to read until printed as positives. These inside-out pictures of plants are comparatively easy – different from the positive image in ways that the eye can’t quite make out, but never incomprehensible.