Roger Ballen – The Theatre of Apparitions (signed)
Thames & Hudson 2016
With a career spanning over four decades, Roger Ballen is best known for his psychologically powerful and masterfully composed images that exist in a space between painting, drawing, installation and photography. This book is both a departure from his existing oeuvre and the culmination of his unique aesthetic linking image-making and theatrical performance. Separated into seven chapters or ‘acts’, these Ballenesque images take readers on a journey deep into their subconscious.
Inspired by the sight of hand-drawn carvings on blacked-out windows in an abandoned women’s prison, Ballen started to experiment using different spray paints on glass and then ‘drawing on’ or removing the paint with a sharp object to let natural light through. The results are like prehistoric cave-paintings: the black, dimensionless spaces on the glass are canvases onto which Ballen carves his thoughts and emotions. Fossil-like facial forms and dismembered body parts co-exist uncomfortably with vaporous, ghost-like shadows – these images have the capacity to shock, inspire, amuse and even elate viewers.
Timeless and innovative, earthly and otherwordly, physical and spiritual, his work transcends all traditional concepts of photography.