Roger Ballen

Roger Ballen

Roger Ballen is one of the most important photographers of his generation, who has been living and working in South Africa for over 30 years. Over the past thirty years his distinctive style of photography has evolved using a simple square format in stark and beautiful black and white. In his earlier works his connection to the tradition of documentary photography is clear but through the 1990s he developed a style he describes as ‘ballenesque’.

In 2009, he presented his work for the first time in Ljubljana at Galerija Fotografija with the world premiere of Boarding House and Retrospective 1982 – 2004 in Jakopič Gallery.

In his recent series he has employed drawings, painting, collage and sculptural techniques to create elaborate sets. Ballen has invented a new hybrid aesthetic in these works but one still rooted firmly in photography.

Thames & Hudson released The Theatre of Apparitions in 2016. In a departure from his existing oeuvre, intricately layered images occupy a space between painting, drawing and photography linking image-making and theatrical performance. In September 2017 Thames & Hudson released Ballenesque, Roger Ballen: A Retrospective, a major retrospective of his collected works.

His contribution has not been limited to stills photography and Ballen has been the creator of a number of acclaimed and exhibited short films that dovetail with his photographic series’. The collaborative film I Fink You Freeky, created for the cult band Die Antwoord in 2012, has garnered over 125-million hits on YouTube.

  • The World According to Roger Ballen, London: Thames & Hudson, 2019.
  • Ballenesque Roger Ballen: A Retrospective, London: Thames & Hudson, 2017.
  • Unleashed, Roger Ballen, Hans Lemmen: Kerber Verlag, 2017.
  • Roger Ballen – Polaroids, volume 1: Alex Daniels, Reflex Editions, Amsterdam 2017.
  • Theatre of Apparitions, London: Thames & Hudson, 2016.
  • Roger Ballen Appearances, Disappearances, Reappearances: Nazraeli Press, USA 2016.
  • No Joke, Asger Carlsen, Roger Ballen: Morel, UK 2016.
  • Resurrected, Toinen Tuleminen: Kerber Art/Serlachius Museot, Finland 2015.
  • The House Project, Didi Bozzini: Oodee Books, UK 2012.
  • Elemental, Roger Ballen and Adam Ganz: Hotshoe, UK 2015.
  • The Audience: Nazraeli Press, USA 2014.
  • Roger Ballen’s Theatre of the Absurd: Pug Oslo, Norway 2014.
  • Asylum of the Birds, London: Thames & Hudson, 2014.
  • Roger Ballen, Photo Poche series. Paris: Nathan, 2012.
  • Animal Abstraction, Exhibition catalogue Galerie Alex Daniels, Amsterdam: Reflex, 2011
  • Boarding House, London: Phaidon, 2009.
  • Shadow Chamber, London: Phaidon, 2005.
  • Fact or Fiction, Paris: Kamel Mennour, 2003,
  • Outland, London: Phaidon, 2001.
  • Cette Afrique là, Photo Poche series. Paris: Nathan, 1997.
  • Platteland, Rivonia (ZA): William Waterman, and London: Quartet, 1994; New York: St. Martin’s, 1996.
  • Dorps: Small Towns of South Africa, Cape Town: Hirt and Carter, 1986. (Reprinted by Protea Boekhuis, 2011)
  • Boyhood, New York/London: Chelsea House, 1979.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Bokeh SA Awards 2019
  • Honorary Doctor of Art and Design, Kingston University, United Kingdom 2018
  • The Asia Pacific Brands Foundation Legendary Award, 2017
  • Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, Edition 46, Artist of the Year, published on 14 November 2014
  • Best Music Video, I Fink U Freeky, Plus Camerimage International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography in Bydgoszcz, Poland
  • I Fink U Freeky. Award for best music video at the 20th Short Vila do Conde International Film Festival, Portugal, 2012
  • Finalist – Lucie Awards
    Curator/Exhibition of the Year: Roger Ballen: Photographs 1982 – 2009. Curated by Dr. Anthony Bannon for the George Eastman House, Rochester, New York.
  • Art Directors Club Award Photography – 2006
  • The Selma Blair Witch Project – New York Times Magazine, October 31st 2005
  • Top 10 Exhibition, Matthew Higgs, Artforum-2004
  • Citigroup Prize, finalist, UK – 2002
  • Photographer of the Year, Rencontres d’ Arles – 2002
  • Top 10 Exhibition, Vince Aletti, Artforum – 2002
  • PhotoEspana, Best Photographic Book of the Year, Spain – 2001
  • Photo-eye, Best Documentary Title, Best Photography Books of 2001
  • Sani Festival, Best Solo Exhibition, Greece, 2000
  • Special mention: UNICEF Photo of the Year 2000
Museum collections:
  • Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
  • Art Gallery of South Australia, South Adelaide, Australia
  • Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
  • Berkeley Art Museum, California
  • Biblioteque Nationale, Paris
  • Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Alabama, USA
  • Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA
  • Central Academy of Fine Arts Museum, China
  • Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France
  • Centro Fotografico Manual Alvarez Bravo, Mexico
  • Chazen Museum of Art, Madison Wisconsin, USA
  • Cleavland Museum, Cleavland, Ohio USA
  • Durban Art Gallery, Durban, South Africa
  • Fotomuseum, Munchen, Germany
  • George Eastman House, Rochester, New York, USA
  • Getty Museum, Los Angeles California, USA
  • Haifa Museum of Art, Israel
  • Hasselblad, Goteborg, Sweden
  • High Museum of Art, Atlanta, USA
  • Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel
  • Iziko National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
  • Johannesburg Art Museum, South Africa
  • Kuntsammlung Jena, Jena Germany
  • Les Rencontres de la Photographie, Arles, France
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, USA
  • Louisiana Museum, Denmark
  • Maison Europeene de la Photographie, Paris
  • Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester. United Kingdom
  • Musee de l’Elysee , Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature, Paris, France
  • Musée de la Photographie á Charleroi, Belguim
  • Museet for Fotokunst, Denmark
  • Museo nazionale Della Fotographia, Brescia, Italy
  • Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Museum Dr. Guislain, Gent, Belgium
  • Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany
  • Museum of Contemporary Art, Rome Italy
  • Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, USA
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA
  • Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
  • National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
  • National Museum of Film and Photography, Bradford UK
  • Oliewenhuis, Bloemfontein, South Africa
  • Palm Springs Art Museum, California
  • Palm Springs Art Museum, California
  • Pori Art Museum, Pori, Finland
  • Pushkin Museum, Moscow, Russia
  • Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Spencer Art Museum, Kansas, USA
  • State Museum of Russia, Moscow, Russia
  • Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
  • Tate Britain, London, UK
  • Tel Aviv Museum, Israel
  • The Jewish Museum, New York City, United States
  • University of California Art Museum, Berkeley, California USA
  • University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky USA
  • Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK
  • Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Virginia, USA
  • Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, USA