Brutal, Tender, Human, Animal

Roger Ballen Photography

     

Roger Ballen

Head inside shirt

(from the "shadow Chamber series")

2001

On loan from Roger Ballen, 2007

© Image courtesy Stills Gallery, Sydney

Roger Ballen

Puppy between feet

(from the "Outland series")

1999

On loan from Roger Ballen, 2007

© Image courtesy Stills Gallery, Sydney

 

Roger Ballen

Tommy, Samson, and a mask

(from the "Outland series")

2000

On loan from Roger Ballen, 2007 

© Image courtesy Stills Gallery, Sydney

Without the dark there could possibly be no light.

This showcase of works by renowned photographer

Roger Ballen plunges straight into the darkness.

It allows the audience to explore the depths of the

human condition at its most intense.

 

Brutal, Tender, Human, Animal – Roger Ballen Photography presents the work of South African photographer Roger Ballen. Born in New York in 1950, Ballen is a geologist by training and has lived and worked in Johannesberg for the last thirty years. 

 

During this period, he has principally depicted the people and places of the rural (and not so rural) villages (known as “dorps”) of his adopted land.  Over time, his works have shifted from a documentary style to highly subjective psychological portraits.  Combining work from the 1980s, 1990s, early 2000s as well as very recent imagery, it is this key shift that this exhibition will investigate. 

                                                                                                              

Ballen’s black and white photographs are acknowledged as being some of the most intensely challenging, even shocking, images being made in the world today.  In them, humans, animals and inanimate objects are presented in taut arrangements that comment on the animism running through all things.

 

Disturbing and confronting, they are intensely compelling meditations on poverty, the psychologies and spiritualities of humans, and the continuing theatrical possibilities of photography. 

 

An artist of major international stature, Ballen’s work is included in the various international collections including Centre Georges Pompidou, France, Los Angles County Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Phaidon produced the book Shadow Chamber in 2005 and his book Outland (Phaidon, 2001) was voted Book of the Year at the PhotoEspana festival in Madrid, in 2001.

 

Artist in focus: Brutal, Tender, Human, Animal – Roger Ballen Photography is on display at the Art Gallery of Western Australia from 24 November 2007 – 4 May 2008.                                                         

                           

'Brutal, Tender, Human, Animal: Roger Ballen Photography'

has been devised as part of the FotoFreo Festival 2008

 

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