Roger Ballen: Retrospective

August 27 - November 3, 2013
Opening August 26, 2013, 5 – 7 pm

Nikolaj Kunsthal, Copenhagen Contemporary Art Centre, opens a large retrospective exhibition of the world-famous black-and-white photographs by American Roger Ballen – looking back on 40 years of photographic work.

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.

Ballen’s starting point was a Magnum inspired photojournalistic approach; but his interest in the inner world in recent years 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 most recent series Asylum of the Birds, 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 as found in Platteland, Outland and Shadow Chamber, and partly of the artist’s newer works from Boarding House (2008) and his most recent series Asylum of the Birds. All together, the exhibition will feature some 180 photographic works by the artist.

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

Thursday August 29 5-6 pm: Talk with photographer Lars Schwander
Lars Schwander presents the exhibition and Roger Ballen’s work.

Prior to the opening, Roger Ballen will be in Denmark and will be available for interviews.

For an interview with the artist, high-res press photos and further information, please contact head of PR and communication Camilla Lund Rasmussen, m: or t: +45 3318 1784.