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ROGER BALLEN

December 14, 2010

When we first began to discuss our project about constructed imagery, I arrived home that day to find the latest issue of Aperture magazine in my mail box and an article about Roger Ballen by Walter Guadagnini titled The Asylum. Roger Ballen is a South African artist who is best known for his cryptic images of people and inanimate objects (graffiti, animals, food scraps, etc) that seem to be haphazardly scattered about the frame. His work takes still life to a whole new, dark and intense level.  I was really inspired by the way the black and white images look so easy, as if he just stumbled upon the scene, when in reality they are full of hidden meanings and references and meticulously assembled.

Untitled, fts Shadow Chamber by Roger Ballen

Fragments, 2005 fts Boarding House by Roger Ballen

Cornered, 2004 fts Boarding House by Roger Ballen

For Ballen photography is necessary because it embodies that suspension of time that is one of the primary characteristics of his work, and it is an inevitable key to its interpretation. But the action that precedes the shutter release, the construction of the image, is equally fundamental….
The construction of the scene is equivalent to the scene itself. Everything takes place in these images as if in a circle, without beginning and without end.

Roger Ballen, The Asylum by Walter Guadagnini in Aperture Magazine 201, Winter 2010

While I ended up going a different route, more towards collage, for my constructed image project I really loved Ballen’s work. Check out more of his work on his website here.

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