Thomas Ruff at David Zwirner Gallery
Until Dec 22, 2007
Here is: a high quality jpg of an image of a c-print of a low-quality jpg of an image of the twin towers. I first saw his work at the Armory show last year, and got annoyed then: Would it be hubris to say that I thought of this before - lossy algorithmic compression as a postmodern impressionism? A substandard attempt at fidelity transformed into a presentation of impersonal interpretation? Harrumph.
Oh well. This is what the Met says:
In other words: the images sound like badly compressed music; slippery, unstable, with a slight burbling underneath the surface. Which makes sense; compression, after all, is the technique of removing invisible accuracies: reducing the range of contrast in a picture, removing a detail in pixels that the eye can't detect, culling off silent peaks in a sound file. It's a method of averaging, approximating, gently simplifying -- of omission. Fitting, for media images of political and war events in which knowledge is on a reported-to-us basis. Here is information by omission, even in his titles: jpeg bb03, jpeg wl01: bombing Baghdad, war in Lebanon.