Roger Ballen‘s grubby, nightmarish scenes are not fabricated, they exist in the small towns and homes in South Africa where the artist has lived and worked since the 1970s. Since then, Ballen has continued to challenge the conventions of documentary photography by fusing social commentary with disquieting, often surreal imagery.
In Boarding House (a series of work currently on display at Stills Gallery, Sydney), one can identify the artist’s active collaboration with his subjects and his abiding interest in composition. He says; ‘The purpose of photography has changed for me. I am no longer an outsider trying to pick up interesting details of a place. Right now, I’m only looking at one place – the interior of my mind. And from that, I step outside.’
Roger Ballen, Boarding House, at Stills Gallery, Sydney, until May 29. The artist will be delivering a talk at Stills on Saturday May 15 at 2pm.
Photographs by Roger Ballen are also included in the forthcoming 17th Biennale of Sydney from May 12 – August 1.