Tableaux Chinois

Tableaux Chinois

Thomas RUFF

Publisher: Buchhandlung Walther Konig

In large-format photobook “Tableaux Chinois”, composed of edited propaganda pictures published by the Chinese Communist Party between the 1950s and 1970s, Ruff analyzes the visual language of propaganda and questions the reliability of images and their relation with reality. To create his work, Ruff scanned pictures found in the French-language magazine “Le Chine,” published by the Chinese Communist Party, meant to demonstrate the benefits of the communist idea to European readers—portraits of Chairman Mao, cheerful workers, traditional Chinese motifs, fighter jets, women engaging in art, the masses waving their little red book. He enlarged the scanned images to reveal the mesh dots of the original offset printing, revealing their analog nature, then reproduced the image in digital form. These pixel-based iterations were layered onto the original scan, with certain sections cut out, to create the final images as an amalgamation of analog halftones and digital pixels, as a vision of 20th century propaganda dressed in the visual technology of the 21st century.

The book also includes a long essay by writer and curator Dieter Roestraete about Thomas Ruff’s “Tableaux Chinois” series (all texts included in English and German).

Keywords: China


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Book Size
370 × 310 mm
176 pages
Publication Year
English, German

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