Ballen's unforgettable portraits of decay, dilapidation, disintegration in a South African family (and associates) are striking, shocking and at times disturbing. Here, 36 of his studies from 1998 to 2002 have been reprinted, one to a spread, on quality smooth paper. Accompanied by an interview with Ballen.
Reality or fiction, fact or fabrication... What happens when Roger Ballen
takes a photograph? Does the world come to him or rather does his eye
shape, sculpt and knead the world to disclose its terrible splendours and
reveal its depths? As much a sculptor as he is a photographer, architect in
his own way, Ballen does nothing more than accentuate reality – but oh so
powerfully. For his images are more than individual pictures, they are true
pieces of installation art. Micro-theatres that set the stage for what is a
truly distinctive tragedy. So distinctive that it becomes universal. Because
it is directed, staged and put into perspective by Roger Ballen with all the
precision of an entomologist. We've gone beyond mere photography to
the crossroads of photography, painting and sculpture. Dare we say: Roger
Ballen is no longer a photographer. He has become an all-round artist.
Published on the occasion the eponymous exhibition at Kamel Mennour Gallery, Paris, from Marc to April 2003.
Born 1950 in New York, Roger Ballen lives and works in Johannesburg.