Thomas Ruff, jpeg co01, 2004

Thomas Ruff, German, born 1958: jpeg co01, 2004. Chromogenic print, 267.3 x 184.7 x 6 cm. Private collection, New Jersey © 2011, Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY / VG Bild Kunst / image courtesy the artist

The prints in Thomas Ruff’s jpeg series are enlarged from image files found on the Internet. Their unifying feature is the pattern of pixelization incurred by jpeg compression, a signifier of transmission and circulation as photographic values. When rendered at monumental scale, the pixel becomes the true subject of the image, lending visible form to the historical distance that separates a moment portrayed—in this case, the collapse of the north tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001—from the moment when the image was downloaded and viewed.

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