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b. 1950, USA

Roger Ballen Biography

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.

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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.

Roger Ballen Featured Artworks

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Invitation by Roger Ballen contemporary artwork
Roger BallenInvitation, 2003Archival pigment print
60 x 60 cm
Christophe Guye Galerie Enquire
Headless by Roger Ballen contemporary artwork
Roger BallenHeadless, 2006Archival pigment print
90 x 90 cm
Christophe Guye Galerie Enquire
Waif by Roger Ballen contemporary artwork
Roger BallenWaif, 2012Archival pigment print
61 x 43 cm
Galerija Fotografija Contact Gallery
Triangulation by Roger Ballen contemporary artwork
Roger BallenTriangulation, 2010Archival pigment print
61 x 43 cm
Galerija Fotografija Contact Gallery
Replacement by Roger Ballen contemporary artwork
Roger BallenReplacement, 2010Archival pigment print
61 x 43 cm
Galerija Fotografija Contact Gallery
Untitled #074-3 by Roger Ballen contemporary artwork
Roger BallenUntitled #074-3, 2018Fuji Instax Film
8.6 x 7.2 cm
Reflex Amsterdam Contact Gallery
Untitled #074-2 by Roger Ballen contemporary artwork
Roger BallenUntitled #074-2, 2018Fuji Instax Film
8.6 x 7.2 cm
Reflex Amsterdam Contact Gallery
Untitled #074-1 by Roger Ballen contemporary artwork
Roger BallenUntitled #074-1, 2018Fuji Instax Film
8.6 x 7.2 cm
Reflex Amsterdam Contact Gallery

Roger Ballen Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Roger Ballen, The Theatre of Apparitions at Galerija Fotografija, Ljubljana
Closed
2 April–15 May 2019 Roger Ballen The Theatre of Apparitions Galerija FotografijaLjubljana
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 AmsterdamAmsterdam
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, New Beginnings at Reflex Amsterdam, Amsterdam
Closed
6 January–17 February 2018 Group Exhibition New Beginnings Reflex AmsterdamAmsterdam

Roger Ballen Represented By

Roger Ballen In Related Press

The world according to Roger Ballen Related Press The world according to Roger Ballen 21 October 2019, British Journal of Photography

For nearly 40 years Roger Ballen has been an outsider, operating on the margins with his fellow art brut artists. Now a new book and exhibition offer a glimpse inside the workings and processes of his dark mind, a world, he says, that, 'reveals itself through itself'

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

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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