Roger Ballen "Ballenesque"
Roger Ballen x Willas Contemporary
City of Residence, Johannesburg, South Africa
"My photographs are psychological in nature and the goal is to penetrate the viewers conscious mind and lodge itself in the subconscious."
On Friday, October 13th, Roger Ballen's mesmerising universe was presented in an old circus tent for a one-night-only at Aker Brygge in Oslo. A selection of analogue photographs combined with movies, projections and a very distinctive soundscape by the Norwegian sound artist Timon Botez enabled those present to experience Ballen´s incomprehensible visionary world in an entirely new way. A Virtual Reality version of BALLENESQUE produced by OONI had its world premiére in the Circus tent that night. The event was a result of a close collaboration with Willas Contemporary.
In Roger Ballen's exhibition, works from the 1970s to the present is exhibited, depicting the evolution of the artist’s aesthetic which is now commonly referred to as BALLENESQUE. The VR produced by OONI is available on request.
Roger Ballen, who carries a PhD in Geology, was born in New York in 1950. He has worked and lived in Johannesburg, South Africa since the early 1980's.
‘The images I create, I create not to inform. They are much rather meant to be understood as a coherent commentary on the chaos in our incomprehensible world. If I could attach any meaning to the images, they would be nothing more than simple photographs.’
Ballen increasingly brings painting, drawing, sculpture and graffiti to the foreground of his work. He distances himself from realistic representation and focuses on the image as a manifestation of a state of the mind or the soul, vision, dream or even nightmare. The figurative forms of Ballen’s expression seamlessly blend with newspaper clippings, cardboard drawings reminiscent of the Art brut-aesthetic cultivated by Jean Dubuffet or the Graffiti series of photographs by Brassaï.
Roger Ballen’s work is shown in prestigious institutions around the world and represented in museum collections such as Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France, Tate London, England, The Museum of Modern Art, USA and Louisiana in Denmark. Ballen’s collaboration with the rap group DIE ANTWOORD has opened his universe to the younger generation – his music video I FINK U FREEKY has received over 100 million views on youtube. He has issued 24 books since 1979, and his most recent book; BALLENESQUE - A Retrospective, published by Thames and Hudson was launched at a book signing event at WILLAS contemporary on Saturday, October 14th from 1-3 pm.