22 April – 5 August 2012, Lippold Gallery (1st floor)
The photography of Roger Ballen, who was born in 1950 in New York and has spent many years in South Africa, continues to bewilder. His pictures turn people and places around Johannesburg into surreal documents of a way of life on the edge of society.
In several extensive series, Ballen tackles subjects such as the descendants of the South African Boers, their lifestyle, and the image they maintain. His approach is to try and pinpoint both the unfamiliar and emotional turmoil. When Ballen published his series of photos entitled ‘Dorps’ (1994), it triggered strong reactions at home and abroad which repeatedly questioned the relationship between documentation and fiction.
Roger Ballen’s photographs convey aggression and vulnerability, yet also reflect his search for concealed, unconscious elements – which frequently take on a nightmarish appearance. They open up views of “a quiet, introverted, vulnerable and wounded world” (Evelyn Weiss). His imagery often resembles daydreams. Especially in his younger works, each photo is regarded by the artist as part of a cryptic self. As a result, his photography is an encounter between real places and a world perceived as a surreal.
This representative compilation of more than 200 photos (some large-format) includes examples from throughout his career and was a resounding success when displayed at Munich Stadtmuseum in 2010.