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Hito Steyerl: How To Build a Sustainable Art World Ocula Conversation Hito Steyerl: How To Build a Sustainable Art World

'A Picture of War is Not War', we read in Hito Steyerl's iconic film November (2004), an essayistic Super 8 film tackling the definition of terrorism constructed around the figure of the artist's best friend Andrea Wolf, who was killed as a terrorist in 1998 in Eastern Anatolia after she joined the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party). Mixing documentary...

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Aichi to Okayama: Art in Japan Looks to the Future Ocula Report Aichi to Okayama: Art in Japan Looks to the Future 11 Oct 2019 : Stephanie Bailey for Ocula

There has been a flurry of triennial and biennial art activity in Japan this year. The Aichi Triennale opened in Nagoya this August, sparking a national debate about the shutting down of a display of formerly censored works—the result of public backlash against a burnt image of Emperor Hirohito and a statue commemorating the women forced into...

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Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough Ocula Insight | Video
Sponsored Content | Mazzoleni Gallery
Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough 15 October 2019

Hans Hartung and Art Informel at Mazzoleni London (1 October 2019-18 January 2020) presents key works by the French-German painter while highlighting his connection with artists active in Paris during the 50s and 60s. In this video, writer and historian Alan Montgomery discusses Hartung's practice and its legacy.Born in Leipzig in 1904, Hans...

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Roger Ballen

b. 1950, USA

Born in New York City in 1950, Roger Ballen has lived and worked in Johannesburg, South Africa for almost 30 years. During this period from 1982 to 2008 he has produced many series of works which has evolved from photo-journalism to a unique artistic vision. This exhibition tracks the development of his style which has made an important contribution to the visual arts. Ballen's work has been shown in important institutions throughout the world and is represented in many Museum Collections such as Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England and Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA.

In the series Dorps: Small Towns of South Africa (1986) Ballen illustrates his love for architecture and interiors that seem to speak volumes about the inhabitants of these strangely familiar yet alien spaces. The next series of work is Platteland: Images from Rural South Africa (1994) in which Ballen focuses on the inhabitants of small rural towns and approaches his subjects with a combination of empathy and the unflinching eye of a photojournalist. More than any other collection of Ballen's work, Platteland vividly brings to life the precarious existence of the people who inhabit the unseen countryside.

Texture, composition and an assortment of both objects and animals increasingly become part of the frame in Outland (2001) and Shadow Chamber (2005). In these works seemingly incompatible objects coexist comfortably with sense of authenticity. To the uninitiated the assortment of objects may seem arbitrary but upon closer inspection one can discern Ballen's ability to bring out the interrelationship between the different objects, the people, their forms and arrangement as well as their metaphysical and emotive qualities. The series Shadow Chamber in particular demonstrates how space, volume and atmosphere are manipulated to create an eerie and surreal world.

The latest series of works from Boarding House (2009) are almost exclusively painterly and sculptural. The human and animal subjects have all but disappeared and function more like stage props or weird sculptures within the composition. Visitors to the gallery will notice that, despite the range of subjects and approaches that Ballen has pursued, a sense of continuity is maintained by a number of visual 'threads' and graphic elements such as electric wires that can be traced from his latest work back to his earliest photographs in the small towns of South Africa.

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Featured Artworks

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You cannot come back by Roger Ballen contemporary artwork
Roger BallenYou cannot come back, 2011 Archival pigment print
76 x 60.5 cm (incl frame)
Christophe Guye Galerie
Transformation by Roger Ballen contemporary artwork
Roger BallenTransformation, 2004 Archival pigment print
68 x 68 cm (incl frame)
Christophe Guye Galerie
Take off by Roger Ballen contemporary artwork
Roger BallenTake off, 2012 Archival pigment print
97 x 97 x 3 cm (incl frame)
Christophe Guye Galerie
Waif by Roger Ballen contemporary artwork
Roger BallenWaif, 2012 Archival pigment print
61 x 43 cm
Galerija Fotografija
Triangulation by Roger Ballen contemporary artwork
Roger BallenTriangulation, 2010 Archival pigment print
61 x 43 cm
Galerija Fotografija
Replacement by Roger Ballen contemporary artwork
Roger BallenReplacement, 2010 Archival pigment print
61 x 43 cm
Galerija Fotografija
Embroyotic by Roger Ballen contemporary artwork
Roger BallenEmbroyotic, 2009 Archival pigment print
61 x 61 cm
Galerija Fotografija
Duality by Roger Ballen contemporary artwork
Roger BallenDuality, 2013 Archival pigment print
61 x 43 cm
Galerija Fotografija

Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Roger Ballen, The Theatre of Apparitions at Galerija Fotografija, Ljubjana
Closed
2 April–15 May 2019 Roger Ballen The Theatre of Apparitions Galerija Fotografija, Ljubjana
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, All the World's A Stage at Reflex Amsterdam, Amsterdam
Closed
9 February–2 March 2019 Group Exhibition All the World's A Stage Reflex Amsterdam
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, New Beginnings at Reflex Amsterdam, Amsterdam
Closed
6 January–17 February 2018 Group Exhibition New Beginnings Reflex Amsterdam

Represented By

In Related Press

Roger Ballen: My photography is unique Related Press Roger Ballen: My photography is unique CAFA Art Info : 15 September 2016

You were born in New York and later moved to and lived in South Africa for many years, you have shot a great deal of images of white people who live in South Africa, what is your original creative thought? How does this migration, geo-cultural difference influence your creation?Roger Ballen: I really took a lot of pictures of African white...

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