Following the successful workshops held here in Auckland over several years with artists such as Lewis Baltz, Paul Graham, Rineke Dijkstra, Alec Soth and Pieter Hugo I'm planning a 2 day intensive workshop with photographer Roger Ballen on Saturday and Sunday March 5 and 6. Roger will outline his practice which involves his strange narratives, video works and bookmaking. He will also review participants portfolios.
As the workshop will be restricted to just 10 participants interest is already high.
If you'd like to know more you please contact me directly at - email@example.comOne of the most influential and important photographic artists of the 21st century, Roger Ballen’s photographs span over forty years. His strange and extreme works confront the viewer and challenge them to come with him on a journey into their own minds as he explores the deeper recesses of his own.
Roger Ballen was born in New York in 1950 but for over 30 years he has lived and worked in South Africa. His work as a geologist took him out into the countryside and led him to take up his camera and explore the hidden world of small South African towns. At first he explored the empty streets in the glare of the midday sun but, once he had made the step of knocking on people’s doors, he discovered a world inside these houses which was to have a profound effect on his work. These interiors with their distinctive collections of objects and the occupants within these closed worlds took his unique vision on a path from social critique to the creation of metaphors for the inner mind. After 1994 he no longer looked to the countryside for his subject matter finding it closer to home in Johannesburg.
Over the past thirty years his distinctive style of photography has evolved using simple collaborations to create powerful psychodramas, with square format images in stark and beautiful black and white. In his earlier works connection to the tradition of documentary photography is clear but through the 1990s Ballen developed a style he describes as ‘documentary fiction’. After 2000 the people he first discovered and documented living on the margins of South African society increasingly became a cast of actors working with Ballen in series.
The line between fantasy and reality in his more recent series’ Boarding House and Asylum of the Birds has become increasingly blurred and in these works he has employed drawings, painting, collage and sculptural techniques to create elaborate sets. People are now often absent altogether; replaced by photographs of people used as props, by doll or dummy parts or where they do appear it’s as disembodied hands, feet and mouths poking disturbingly through walls and pieces of rag. The often improvised scenarios are completed by the unpredictability of the animals whose ambiguous behaviour is crucial to the overall meaning of the photographs. Ballen has invented a new hybrid aesthetic in these works but one still rooted firmly in black and white photography.
Roger Ballen has allowed himself to be won over by the possibilities of integrating photography and drawing. He has expanded his repertoire and extended his visual language. By integrating drawing into his photographic and video works, the artist has not only made a lasting contribution to the field of art, but equally has made a powerful commentary about the human condition and its creative potential.
More about Roger Ballen on his website HERE.
|Roger Ballen - Dresie and Casie, Twins, Western Transvaal, 1993|
Roger Ballen and Die Antwoord: I Fink U Freeky