Thomas Ruff: Bonfils

In 2021, Ruff acquired reproductions of glass negatives from Maison Bonfils, a photo studio opened in Beirut in 1864 by Félix Bonfils. Most of these nearly  150-year-old negatives were in poor condition. Published by Bonfils in miscellaneous large-format albums, the photographs depict ancient sites and landscapes of the Middle East. At that time, it remained impossible to enlarge or reduce a print directly from a negative; they had to be photographed again in the desired size before having a print made. Moreover, the images were often altered from their original appearance—the backgrounds might be darkened and a title and signature applied to the reproduction. Often, several negatives of different sizes were produced from a sole motif, then used for the production of albums, while being treated with corresponding care, as they weren’t the “original negatives.” By making new prints from the reproduced negatives, Ruff has worked out the marks of time and improper treatment. —adapted from texts related to Thomas Ruff: Metaphotographie at MAMC, 2022

A Chromogenic print by Thomas Ruff, titled bonfils_02 - Statue renversée de Sésostris à Thèbes - Égypte, dated 2021.

Thomas Ruff

bonfils_02 - Statue renversée de Sésostris à Thèbes - Égypte, 2021
Chromogenic print
Image: 23 5/8 x 30 3/4 inches (60 x 78 cm)
Framed: 37 3/4 x 48 7/8 inches (96 x 124 cm)
A chromogenic print by Thomas Ruff, titled bonfils_03, dated 2021.

Thomas Ruff

bonfils_03, 2021
Chromogenic print
Image: 23 5/8 x 30 3/4 inches (60 x 78 cm)
Framed: 37 3/4 x 48 7/8 inches (96 x 124 cm)
A chromogenic print by Thomas Ruff, titled bonfils_04 - Vue générale du petit temple, détail de la porte. Thèbes (Medinet-Abou), Haute Égypte, dated 2021.

Thomas Ruff

bonfils_04 - Vue générale du petit temple, détail de la porte. Thèbes (Medinet-Abou), Haute Égypte, 2021
Chromogenic print
Image: 23 5/8 x 30 3/4 inches (60 x 78 cm)
Framed: 37 3/4 x 48 7/8 inches (96 x 124 cm)
A chromogenic print by Thomas Ruff, titled bonfils_06 - Ruines du temple de Kournak à Thèbes - Haute Égypte, dated 2021.

Thomas Ruff

bonfils_06 - Ruines du temple de Kournak à Thèbes - Haute Égypte, 2021
Chromogenic print
Image: 23 5/8 x 30 3/4 inches (60 x 78 cm)
Framed: 37 3/4 x 48 7/8 inches (96 x 124 cm)
A chromogenic print by Thomas Ruff, titled bonfils_07 - Pylone du temple d'Edfou Haute Égypte, dated 2021.

Thomas Ruff

bonfils_07 - Pylone du temple d'Edfou Haute Égypte, 2021
Chromogenic print
Image: 23 5/8 x 30 3/4 inches (60 x 78 cm)
Framed: 37 3/4 x 48 7/8 inches (96 x 124 cm)
A Chromogenic print by Thomas Ruff, titled bonfils_11 - Constantinople, Basilique St Sophie et navires dans le fond, dated 2021.

Thomas Ruff

bonfils_11 - Constantinople, Basilique St Sophie et navires dans le fond, 2021
Chromogenic print
Image: 23 5/8 x 30 3/4 inches (60 x 78 cm)
Framed: 37 3/4 x 48 7/8 inches (96 x 124 cm)

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