EXHIBITION Sep 29 — Dec 4, 2001
For nearly 20 years ROGER BALLEN (born 1950) has been documenting life in the dorps, the small towns of South Africa. From its initial start his photographic work focused on the rural white population, a forgotten class that has been struggling to survive for decades and is plagued with poverty, isolation and incest.
Through the years, Ballen's work strongly developed. While in the 80's it was reminiscent of the portrait and documentary photography of Walker Evans, it took new shape from the middle of the 90's onwards, which Ballen himself calls „documentary fiction".
His portraits of outsiders from the suburbs of Pretoria and Johannesburg become strange scenes, small „tableau vivants", which make one sense personal tragedy and broken biographies. These are disturbing, almost demonic images, in which these portrayed are put on stage with continuously recurrent motives - electric cables, pictures on a wall or animals. For Ballen, his pictures are „the result of an interaction with the subject", an interaction that includes a narrative and partly playful element in the photographs.
Although Roger Ballen's photographs are in the tradition of documentary photography of Diane Arbus, they always put this tradition into question by pushing the images to their limit. With these pictures, Ballen offers an essential and unique contribution to contemporary photography.
In a small exhibition, KICKEN II presents selected portraits by the photographer DIANE ARBUS (1923–1971), who already during her life time had great influence on the art world.