Roger Ballen:

27. August 2013 to 3. November 2013

American photographer Roger Ballen (b. 1950) has lived in South Africa for more than 30 years, and this is where he has produced most of his major works. His penetrating photographic gaze and brilliant documentation of people on the edge of society in series such as Platteland: Images from Rural South Africa (1994) and Outland (2001) have placed him in the absolute world elite of art photography.

Who does not know the fear-provoking but fascinating twins Dresie and Casie?

His starting point was a Magnum inspired photojournalistic approach. Over the years, he has gradually developed his own more subjective practice in which he seeks to get one step closer to the persons he describes than in the classic documentary photography.

In recent years, Ballen’s interest in the inner world has intensified in a practice that he calls documentary fiction. In his later series, the human body is transformed into fictitious dreams and nightmarish images. The bodies form pictorial, fascinating and disturbing universes with their almost hallucinatory imagery; and in his series Asylum of the Birds (2012), the outer universe of the images is nearly completely dissolved into an imaginary world, a reflection of the wild visions of the mind.

This movement away from the outward to the inward is visible in the exhibition with its combination partly of Ballen’s classic and famous documentary period, especially as found in Platteland, and partly of the artist’s most recent series Asylum of the Birds. All together, the exhibition will feature some 180 photographic works by Roger Ballen.

The exhibition furthermore includes two video works, one being the music video 'I Fink U Freeky" which Ballen created as a collaboration with the South African zef-electro-duo Die Antwoord; and there will also be a Roger Ballen installation made specifically for Nikolaj Kunsthal, Copenhagen Contemporary Art Centre.

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