Past Exhibitions

  • August 30 - November 13, 2016

Thomas Ruff

Porträts 《Porträt (P. Stadtbäumer)》 1988, C-print, 210×165cm ©Thomas Ruff /VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016

  Thomas Ruff (born in 1958 in Zell am Harmersbach, Germany) has been a leading figure in contemporary photography since the 1990s when he emerged as part of the Becher School. Along with Andreas Gursky and Thomas Struth, Ruff studied photography with Bernd and Hilla Becher at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf.

  The exhibition introduces a wide range of works by this world-renowned photographer, stretching from his earliest efforts to his most recent and never-before-shown photographs. Ruff was first acclaimed for a series of huge two-meter-high portraits. Since then, he has explored a variety of themes, including architecture, urban landscapes, nudes, and celestial bodies. Through these subjects, he has developed a unique vision of the world we live in.

  The medium of photography, closely entwined with our vision and perception, is another important theme in Ruff’s work. He searches for new possibilities in photographic expression using a multitude of images as his materials. These not only include Ruff’s own pictures but everything from digital images from the Internet to old photographs he has collected.

  The exhibition was organized with the full cooperation of the artist, who among other things was involved in selecting the works and designing the display structure. It will present the entire scope of Thomas Ruff’s practice, including a number of new and never-before-shown works.


Highlights of the Thomas Ruff Exhibition


*First Full-Fledged Retrospective of the Artist’s Work in Japan

  Though Ruff’s work has been shown at Japanese museums and galleries since the 1990s, this exhibition marks the first full-fledged retrospective of the artist’s career ever presented at a Japanese museum. The long-awaited dream of a Ruff solo exhibition in Japan will at last become a reality.


*Works from Many Important Series from Throughout the Artist’s Career

  The exhibition will draw on a total of 18 series, including Ruff’s first effort Interieurs; Porträts, which earned him widespread acclaim; cassini and ma.r.s., inspired by his boyhood interest in outer space; and nudes and jpeg, which examine visual and information spaces in the age of the Internet. The Tokyo exhibition will consist of some 125 works.


*World Premiere of Four New Works Made for the Japan Exhibition

  Ruff’s latest series, press++, was inspired by the artist’s acquisition of an archive of press photographs from a newspaper company. In this latest work, the artist made use of photographic prints from an erstwhile media space and related textual data as his materials. In this exhibition, four new works, based on press photographs provided by the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper company, will be making their world premiere in Japan.


*Still photography is permitted in the exhibition gallery.

Please check with conditions



cassini 《cassini 10》 2009, C-print, 98.5×108.5cm ©Thomas Ruff /VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016

photogram 《phg.12》2015, C-print, 185×310cm ©Thomas Ruff /VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016

Art Museum Special Exhibition Gallery
August 30 - November 13, 2016
10:00-17:00 (Friday is 10:00-20:00)
*Last admission : 30 minutes before closing
Closed on Mondays (except September 19 and October 10), September 20 and October 11
Day ticket (Group of 20 persons or more)
Adults: ¥1,600 (1,300)
College / University students: ¥1,200 (900)
High school students: ¥800 (500)

Advance ticket
* Advance ticket sales period: Until August 29, 2016
Adults: ¥1,400
College / University students: ¥1,000
High school students: ¥600

* All prices include tax.
* Junior High school age and under are free of charge.
* Persons with disability and one person accompanying them are admitted free of charge.
* Including the admission fee for MOMAT Collection.

Photographing Thomas Ruff exhibition is allowed based on the following conditions;

Taking pictures;
・No flash is allowed.
・No tripod is allowed.
・No selfie stick is allowed.
・Take photographs without disturbing other visitors.
・Please refrain from taking close-up pictures of the works.
・No video shooting is allowed.

Using the pictures you’ve taken;
・No commercial use of the photographs of the exhibits is permitted.
・No modification to the photographs of the exhibits.
・Please show following information when you use the photograph s of the exhibits in a blog, SNS or a photo sharing service;

Artist name/ title/ Thomas Ruff/ The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

・Please note that publication of any photographs showing any other visitors in a blog, SNS or a photo sharing service, may infringe on the portrait rights of such visitors.
・Use the photographs in a blog, SNS or a photo sharing service on your own responsibility. The museum does not accept responsibility for private use of photographs.

Special Tickets:
Ruff × Dalí Ticket Set (¥2,600)
Set of 2 tickets ("Thomas Ruff" and "Salvador Dalí").
* "Salvador Dalí"
Venue: The National Art Center, Tokyo
Dates: September 14 - December 12, 2016
* On sale until August 29, 2016.
* This Tickets are sold at Ticket Pia only.
* Please inquire respective ticket agencies.

PR poster Ticket Set (¥3,000)
An advance sale ticket to the exhibition, plus an original PR poster (177cm×125cm) (not otherwise for sale).
* Limited to 1,000 sets.
* Offer ends once these tickets are sold out.
* This Tickets are sold at Ticket Pia only.
* Extra handling charge may incur. Please inquire respective ticket agencies.

T-shirt Ticket Set (¥4,800)
An advance sale ticket to the exhibition, plus an original T-shirt.
* 3 size(S/M/L) available, limited to 100 each.
* Offer ends once these tickets are sold out.
* This Tickets are sold at Ticket Pia only.
* Please inquire respective ticket agencies.
* The T-shirt will be handed out at the Exhibition Museum Shop.
Special website:
* External Links
The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo
The Yomiuri Shimbun
PIA Corporation
With the support of:
With the cooperation of:
Lufthansa Cargo AG.
All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd.

Art Museum

3-1 Kitanomaru-koen, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-8322


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