Campany and Colberg reviews of Thomas Ruff Jpegs

I thought that Campany took a wide objective view of the work, considering its heritage, context and its wider public response. Colberg, by contrast took something of a more personal and subjective approach, with a comparatively narrow focus.  Campany’s style of writing is more formal and his article is longer than Colberg’s.

Campany discusses the drama of the work, the beauty in the familiar seen a different way. The raw materials of the work are normal, found images. These provide a sense of familiarity, an easy access into the work whence we can watch the drama growing with the scale of the image, from micro figurative to macro abstraction, and then back again. The use of series also helps, building our understanding of the images individually and as a group. He considers the relation of the work to the archives and shows us that it actually belongs to several archives. He compares the pixel to the grain, noting that it is rather more clinical and less aesthetic, yet Ruff recognises and celebrates the humble pixel, giving it physical presence at a vastly increased magnitude. Colberg doesn’t mention pixels but talks about the loss of detail at low resolution and the undeniable obvious logic that underlies these beautiful images (they both agree on that). Campany’s focus is on heritage, context, public response.

It is interesting to see how the differing perspectives affect the understanding provided by the writings. Colberg discusses how well the images work in a book, and his thoughts about seeing them super-sized in galleries. He feels that they work better slightly smaller. He struggles with understanding what the images offer beyond the technique used to create them but is awed by their beauty. Between the two articles I am now curious to learn more. (296 words).

Below are two images as suggested by the course notes. The first is a screen grab of an image from Ruff’s Jpegs book, via via Bing images. The second is one of my own images, resized to 180×270 pixels and saved on the lowest quality settings. I thought it was interesting how all the curves of the flower flatten and what remains is an almost cubist poppy. The colour is far less vibrant with the reduced quality.



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