// Roger BALLEN // Martin DENKER // Sally MANN // Vik MUNIZ // Andres SERRANO // Joel Peter WITKIN
The exhibition /HIGH SPEED INSANITY/ presents six independent artists. Their common denominator is their ability to deconstruct in order to construct, where photography is used as the form of artistic expression.
For many years Ballen worked as a geologist while documenting the small villages of rural South Africa and their isolated inhabitants. His distinctive style has evolved from a documentary approach to something more abstract, metaphoric and introspective. Over the years he developed his own private visual universe, combining photography, sculpture, films and installations. He describes his work as fundamentally psychological and existential; making art is an exercise in defining himself.
Mr Ballen’s work has been shown in institutions worldwide and is represented in many museum collections, such as Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; the Tate, London, England and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA. The exhibition ‘Roger Ballen´s Theater of the Absurd’ at Fotografiska, Stockholm was curated by PUG Oslo.
Roger Ballen portrays a visual reality where human beings and animals are trapped in an incomprehensible and un-logical world. His photographs capture a tragic reality, free of ideals, purity and purpose in which the subjects’ actions seem senseless and absurd. The world reveals itself in photographs that are not only beautiful in their formal qualities, but also meaningful in content. Human comedy is a recurring presence in his images.
//I've been in a lot of underground mines and I always say that photography is like going down into the mineshaft. Each day I hope to go the next level down. But it's one thing to get down; it's another thing to bring to the surface what you find down there. // Roger Ballen
“…Maybe these photographs can help us navigate through the obstacles of life? There are a lot of good opportunities in sound provocation. Good art raises questions, tears down borders and questions our ability to see and understand. It makes us reconsider our values and approach to life and other people. As long as it is not based on violence or abuse most things may be considered human. As Terentius, a roman playwright living from 190-159 BC, said: «I am a human being, so nothing human is strange to me.»”
//excerpt from the catalogue text by Lars Elton