Oberflächen Tiefen / Surfaces Depths was published in 2009 on the occasion of Thomas Ruff's solo exhibition at Kunsthalle Wien.
It's a representative selection of Thomas Ruff's works, over a period that already spans about 25 years, with projects ranging from portraits and interiors to telescope and space probe pictures and "nightsight" photography. Ruff incorporates an extremely wide range of everyday subjects into his experiments--people, architecture, planets, the Internet--and subjects them to all forms of camera technology, so that his work often seems to embody the history of the art as it develops. Ruff has a particular fascination with photographic techniques that appear to erase or leave out the artist's hand, techniques often designed for military or scientific purposes. In a recent series titled Zycles, for example, Ruff constructs his images with the help of mathematical formulas and computer technology, twisting two-dimensional surfaces into the three-dimensional space of vector graphics. Surfaces and Depths focuses on ten of Ruff's total of 18 projects to address this particular ongoing preoccupation with artistic detachment, and the polarities of surface and depth vision in the construction of images. In doing so, it makes the broadest assessment to date of the oeuvre of this tireless innovator.