Boarding House captures an imaginary space of transient residence, of comings and goings, focusing on the evocative drawings and sculptural objects as well as the people and animals found there captures an imaginary space of transient residence, of comings and goings, focusing on the evocative drawings and sculptural objects as well as the people and animals found there.
ABOUT THE PRINT
Silver gelatin print
Sheet size: 420 x 406 mm (16 1/2 x 16 inches)
Image size: 362 x 365 mm (14 1/4 x 14 3/8 inches)
Box: 455 x 440 mm (18 x 17 3/8 inches)
Printed in 2008 in an edition of 50 plus 5 artist's proofs
All copies are signed and numbered by Roger Ballen
Roger Ballen's (b.1950) work focuses on a strange and alluring place that he calls the Boarding House, where he directs his subjects in a unique collaboration of imagination and reality. Toying with fantasy, Ballen's transient compositions create a question mark over our preconceptions of photography, creating a theatre out of the building blocks of documentary.
In Contemplation the chaos has abated, and we witness a clean shirtless man holding a white duck to his face. Sitting in a man-made ditch he appears to be deep in conversation with the duck, listening intently to its story. An electrical cable is pinned neatly to the wall, but it seems not to be coming from, nor leading, anywhere. As always in the boarding house, the only consistency is the dirt and dust of its abandonment.
Roger Ballen (b. 1950) has lived and worked in Johannesburg, South Africa for almost 30 years. Born in New York, he worked as a geologist and mining consultant before starting his photographic career by documenting the small villages of rural South Africa and their isolated inhabitants. His images are both powerful social statements and disturbing psychological studies. Ballen’s book Outland, also published by Phaidon, was named Best Photographic book of the Year at PhotoEspaña 2001, Madrid, Spain.