Thomas Ruff: zycles

Grounded in mathematics and physics, the works in the zycles series are produced as large-scale chromogenic prints, or are sometimes printed directly onto canvas. They are inspired by nineteenth-century texts on science, in particular Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell’s volume on electromagnetism, which includes numerous copperplate engravings of magnetic fields. While not intentionally aesthetic, these delicate traceries were, for Ruff, suggestive of minimalist drawings. To explore their visual and spatial possibilities, Ruff used a three-dimensional rendering program to translate the algebraic formulae of the cycloids—regarded in mathematics as “the most aesthetic of curve”—into computer-generated imagery. The spiraling formations, always faithful to their mathematical origins, evoke a multitude of forms: the trajectories of planets, cascading ribbons, line drawings, and musical vibrations.

A photograph by Thomas Ruff, titled zycles 3075, dated 2009.

Thomas Ruff

zycles 3075, 2009
Pigment print on canvas
100 1/2 x 80 7/8 inches (255.3 x 205.4 cm)
A photograph by Thomas Ruff, titled zycles 4020, dated 2009.

Thomas Ruff

zycles 4020, 2009
Chromogenic print
72 5/8 x 72 5/8 inches (184.5 x 184.5 cm)
A Chromogenic print by Thomas Ruff, titled zycles 4065, dated 2009.

Thomas Ruff

zycles 4065, 2009
Chromogenic print
80 1/4 x 68 1/2 inches (203.8 x 174 cm)
A Chromogenic print by Thomas Ruff, titled zycles 4068, dated 2009.

Thomas Ruff

zycles 4068, 2009
Chromogenic print
80 3/4 x 70 7/8 inches (205 x 180 cm)
A detail from an triptych by Thomas Ruff, titled zycles 3041, 3042, 3043, dated 2008.

Thomas Ruff

zycles 3041, 3042, 3043, 2008
Inkjet on canvas
Triptych
Each: 92 7/8 x 159 7/8 inches (236 x 406 cm)
An Inkjet on canvas photograph by Thomas Ruff, titled zycles 3065, dated 2008.

Thomas Ruff

zycles 3065, 2008
Inkjet on canvas
104 3/4 x 92 7/8 inches (266 x 236 cm)

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