Posted on September 30, 2009
Ballen has received numerous photographic awards and has exhibited world-wide. His work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.
For the past five years, Ballen’s work has focused on the inhabitants of a strange and alluring place near Johannesburg he calls Boarding House, and it is this very same house that forms the subject matter of Ballen’s latest book of photography with the same name.
At the public lecture that preceded the opening of the exhibition, Ballen said that his search for layers beneath layers in his photography is a direct result of the fact that he first qualified and worked as a geologist. Yet Ballen is adamant that his work is never staged. It is always a matter of being in the right place at the right time.
The introduction to his book Boarding House states that “these photographs are like images from a waking dream, compelling and thought-provoking, formally sophisticated and filled with layers of rich detail, flashes of dark humour, and an altered sense of place. Blurring the boundaries between documentary photography and art, his work is both a powerful social statement and a complex psychological study.”
Boarding House can be viewed on Level 3 of the Merensky Library on the Hatfield Campus of the University of Pretoria from 07:30 to 21:00 Mondays to Thursdays, 07:30 to 20:00 on Fridays and 08:30 to 13:00 on Saturdays. Roger Ballen’s exhibition will be on view until 31 October 2009
Published by Erhardt Maritz