Retrospective of South African photo artist lays his career bare

Istanbul Modern Photograph Gallery is hosting a retrospective exhibition of US-born South African artist Roger Ballen. The exhibition follows Ballen’s works which he has been producing since the 1980s. Ballen’s distinctive and unique style of photography evolved from a form of documentary photography into a style that he describes as “ballenesque.”

Ballen employs drawing, painting, collage and sculptural techniques to create a hybrid aesthetic, but one still firmly rooted in photography. It is possible to describe Ballen’s human actor-participants as stranger, starker, and more indeterminate than those in the plays of Samuel Beckett or Harold Pinter. These marginalized characters which can neither exert force on the world around them nor escape it, have a definite kinship to the Theatre of the Absurd.

Ballen lays bare the absurdity of the human condition through the agency of ordinary people, finding the comical in the grotesque and situating madness on the edge of reality.

The “Roger Ballen: Retrospective” features the following series and installation by the artist: Dorps: Small Towns in South Africa, Platteland: Images of Rural South Africa, Outland, Shadow Chamber, Boarding House, Asylum of the Birds, The Theatre of Apparitions and “Room of the Ballenesque.”

When: Until June 4, 2017

Where: Istanbul Modern Photo Gallery, Istanbul

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