Roger Ballen “Ballenesque”

Emon Photo Gallery

poster for Roger Ballen “Ballenesque”
[image: Roger Ballen "Shadow Chamber" (2005)]

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This exhibition by photographer Roger Ballen marks Emon Photo Gallery’s 12th anniversary.
Ballen was born in New York in 1950 and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, traveling the world extensively before settling in Johannesburg, South Africa. There, Ballen has spent the last 35 years working on his photography, giving rise to an impressive body of work. The “Outland” (2001) series, published by Phaidon press, was particularly significant in his rapid rise to fame. The impact of his equally provocative subsequent works on the photography and art world hardly needs mentioning.
Ballen was part of a collaborative exhibition titled “No Joke” showing at Diesel Gallery in Tokyo earlier this year. The current exhibition coincides with the publication by Thames and Hudson of his latest book “Ballenesque: Roger Ballen - A Retrospective,” which offers a powerful insight into Ballen’s practice to date. The exhibition will feature innovative works from the past together with some of his latest pieces.
Ballen’s photographs are characterized by the compelling people within, shot against windowless, stained walls strewn with graffiti and chaotic wire configurations. These elements pervade his work. Impinging on the realm of painting, Ballen’s photographs encompass an unidentifiable aesthetic that can best be described as “Ballenesque.” Thus, the supernatural world of Roger Ballen robs us of words and nestles deep into our subconscious mind.
At the heart of works from the earlier part of Ballen’s career lies an empathy for people living on the edge of society. His later works see a shift away from society as motif and toward the psyche, embodied in a more avant-garde expression incorporating drawings and configurations of space.
A tension close to fear permeates Ballen’s photographs. The instinctual reaction is to brace oneself and withdraw slightly, and his works are viewed with bated breath. Philosopher Simone Weil proclaimed, “Good is to be found scattered like sand amongst evil. Purity is the power to be able to hold one’s gaze on filth.” Similarly, Ballen’s crisp monochrome photographs invite us to engage with what we see and provide us a chance to truly think.
In addition to focusing on the landmark “Outland” (2001) series, this exhibition will introduce works from “Shadow Chamber” (2005), “Boarding House” (2009), “Asylum of the Birds” (2014), and “The Theatre of Apparitions” (2016). Discover the work of this artist, whose every step has helped establish a truly singular approach, yet, via a repeating cycle of rebirth and transformation, defies categorization.

[Related Event]
Book signing
Event Date: Oct. 21 (Sat) 15:30-

*Please see the official website for booking and further details.



from October 20, 2017 to December 20, 2017


Roger Ballen



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