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Portrait of the artist, Paris 2014
Portrait of the artist, Paris 2014

The New York-born photographer, Roger Ballen - who has been based in South Africa for over thirty years now- is one of the most recognized and innovative photographers of his generation. The son of a Magnum Photo editor, Roger Ballen became involved in photography at the age of thirteen. After graduating with a degree in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1972, he did a PhD in Mineral Economics, which he completed in 1982. It was at this point that Ballen decided to buy a 6x6 Rolleiflex. The square format of this camera characterises his photography - it constitutes a perfect form in which all dimensions are equally represented. Producing mainly black and white photographs, Ballen masters this medium. He uses his camera to capture something both radical and indescribable: the psyche. Images are first set up and then photographed - they look to reveal the innermost part of our being. Archetypes rise to the surface, more or less abruptly, and are prevalent in the images.

As mysterious as they are explicit, Ballen's works trigger epiphanies, moments enabling his spectators to grasp the inexplicable.  Roger Ballen was born in New York in 1950. In 1982, he moved to Johannesburg where he still lives and works today. His first photography book, Boyhood, was published in the late 1970s, followed by Dorps in 1986, Platteland in 1994 and Outland in 2001, among others. His most recent series, Asylum of the Birds, was published by Thames & Hudson in March 2014. Among his many awards, he won the Rencontres d'Arles in 2002 and the Art Directors Club Award in 2006. His I Fink U Freeky video also won the award for best video at the Portuguese festival Short Vila do Conde International Film Festival in 2012. Roger Ballen's works are included in several of the most important contemporary art collections in the world, including the Tate Britain collection, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris.

Gallery from home | Roger Ballen

© Roger Ballen and Galerie Karsten Greve

Publications

Exhibitions

Solo exhibitions
2021
Roger Ballen

Fotomuseum Den Haag, The Hague, Netherlands

2021
The World according to Roger Ballen

Jakopič Gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenia

2021
Roger Ballen

National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece

2020-21
The place of the mind

Francisco Carolinum, Linz, Austria

2020-21
Le monde selon Roger Ballen

Halle Saint Pierre, Paris, France

2020
Roger Ballen. Shadows of the mind

MOMus-Museum of Photography, Thessaloniki, Greece

2020
Roger Ballen: In Retrospect

The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, Tampa, FL, USA

2020
Roger Ballen

Center of Photography, Montevideo, Uruguay

2019
Ballenesque

Centro Cultural Kavlin, Punta del Este, Uruguay

2019
Roger Ballen

Latvian Museum of Photography, Riga, Latvia

2019-20
Childhood (1974 - 2018). Photographs by Roger Ballen

Galerie Karsten Greve, Paris, France

2019-20
Roger Ballen – The Theatre of the Ballenesque

Centrale for Contemporary Art, Brussels, Belgium

2018-19
Roger Ballen. Archetypes

City Art Gallery, Plovdiv, Bulgaria

2018
Ballenesque: Roger Ballen Retrospective

Modern Art Museum, Gebre Kristos Desta Center, Addis Ababa, Ethopia

2018
Mind Games

Museu da Fotografia Fortaleza, Fortaleza, Brazil

2018
NEW CITY PASSAGE: NO EXIT REVISITED

Hessisches Staatstheater, Wiesbaden, Germany

2018
The Place of Ballenesque

El Centro de Extension Alfonso Lagos (CECAL UdeC), Chillán, Chile

2018
Roger Ballen: There Is No Outside

School of the Photographic Arts, Ottawa, Canada

2017
Roger Ballen

John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, USA

2017
Roger Ballen. Asylum of the Birds

Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Sedalia, USA

2017
Roger Ballen. Introspective

Festival Off Photo España, Madrid, Spain

2017
Roger Ballen. Ballenesque. A Retrospective

Kunstsammlung Jena, Jena, Germany

2017
Roger Ballen. Asylum of the Birds

La ERRE, City of Guatemala, Guatemala

2017
Roger Ballen

Centro Cultural, Santiago de Chili, Chile

2017
Roger Ballen - Art Masters St. Moritz

Galerie Karsten Greve, St. Moritz, Schwitzerland

2017-18
BALLENESQUE - roger ballen: a retrospective

PH Photo Centre, Cape Town, South Africa

2017
Roger Ballen. The house of the Ballenesque

Maison des Peintres, Arles, France

2016
Roger Ballen

Guangdong Museum, Guangdong, China

2016-17
Roger Ballen: Retrospective

Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, Istanbul, Turkey

2016
Roger Ballen. Fotografie und Film 1969 - 2015

Von der Heydt Kunsthalle, Wuppertal, Germany

2016
Asylum of the Birds

James Fuentes Gallery, New York, USA

2015
Roger Ballen

Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Santiago de Chili, Chile

2015-16
Shadow Land. The Photography of Roger Ballen, 1982 - 2015

Pori Art Museum, Pori, Finland

2015
Roger Ballen

New Delhi, India

2015
Asylum of the Birds

Galerie Karsten Greve, Cologne, Germany

2014
Roger Ballen

Moscow Media Centre, Moscow, Russia

2014
Asylum of the Birds

Musée Nicéphore Niépce, Chalon-sur-Saône, France

2014
Roger Ballen’s Theater of the Absurd

Fotografiska, Stockholm, Sweden

2014
Reiziger in de Psyche

Museum Dr. Guislain, Gand, Belgium

2014
Roger Ballen - „Fotografien 1969-2013“,

Kunst- und Kulturzentrum, Monschau, Germany

2014-15
Roger Ballen. Theatre of the Absurd

Museum Villa Stuck, Munich, Germany

2014
Asilo de los pájaros

Festival de la Luz, Buenos Aires, Argentina

2014
Roger Ballen - Obras Seleccionadas

Kulungwana, Maputo, Mozambique

2014
Shadow Land. Photographs (1982-2013

Atlas Sztuki, Lotz, Poland

2014-15
Asylum of the Birds

MACRO – Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma, Rome, Italy

2014-15
Asylum of the Birds

Galerie Karsten Greve, Paris, France

2014-15
Roger Ballen

Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brasil

2013-14
Transfigurações, Fotografias 1968-2012

Museu Oscar Niemeyer, Curitiba, Brasilia

2013-14

Oliewenhuis Art Museum, Bloemfontein, South Africa

2012-13
Roger Ballen. Documentary Fiction 1982 - 2012

Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel

Group exhibitions
2019-21
BE MODRERN: From Klee to Tuymans

Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Brussels, Belgium

2018
Hans Lemmen and Roger Ballen: Unleashed

Bonnefaunten Museum, Maastricht, Netherlands

2017
Autumn Show

Galerie Karsten Greve AG, St. Moritz, Schwitzerland

2017
Roger Ballen and Asger Carlsen. No Joke

Foam Fotografiemuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

2017
Roger Ballen et Hans Lemmen

Musée de la Chasse, Paris, France

2016
VIVRE !! La collection agnès b.

National Museum of History and Immigration, Paris, France

2015
LeadAwards Exhibition

Haus der Photographie, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, Germany

2012-13
Religion & Riten

DZ Bank Kunstsammlung, Berlin, Germany

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