About Roger Ballen
Ballen is one of the most important photographers of his generation. He was born in New York in 1950 but for over 30 years he has lived and worked in South Africa. His work as a geologist took him out into the countryside and led him to take up his camera and explore the hidden world of small South African towns. At first, he explored the empty streets in the glare of the midday sun but once he had made the step of knocking on people's doors, he discovered a world inside these houses which was to have a profound effect on his work. These interiors with their distinctive collections of objects and the occupants within these closed worlds took his unique vision on a path from social critique to the creation of metaphors for the inner mind. After 1994, he no longer looked to the countryside for his subject matter, instead finding it closer to home in Johannesburg.
Over the past 30 years his distinctive style of photography has evolved using a simple square format in stark and beautiful black and white. In the earlier works of the exhibition, his connection with the tradition of documentary photography is clear but throughout the 1990s he developed a style he describes as "documentary fiction." After 2000, the people he first discovered and documented living on the margins of South African society increasingly became a cast of actors working with Ballen in the series "Outland" and "Shadow Chamber," collaborating to create disturbing psychodramas.
The line between fantasy and reality in his series, "Boarding House" and "Asylum of the Birds" has become increasingly blurred and in these series he has employed drawings, painting, collage and sculptural techniques to create elaborate sets. People are now often absent altogether; replaced instead by photographs of people used as props, by doll or dummy parts orwhere they do appear it is as disembodied hands, feet and mouths poking disturbingly through walls and pieces of fabric. The often improvised scenarios are completed by the unpredictable behavior of the animals which are captured in an instant. Ballen has invented a new hybrid aesthetic in these works but one still rooted firmly in photography.
Please click to read our informative text prepared pursuant to the Law on the Protection of Personal Data No. 6698 and to get information about the cookies used on our website in accordance with the relevant legislation.
6698 sayılı Kişisel Verilerin Korunması Kanunu uyarınca hazırlanmış aydınlatma metnimizi okumak ve sitemizde ilgili mevzuata uygun olarak kullanılan çerezlerle ilgili bilgi almak için lütfen tıklayınız.