July 17, 2019
THE THEATRE OF APPARITIONS BY ROGER BALLEN
The Theatre of Apparitions by Roger Ballen
published by Thames and Hudson
available at Fondazione Sozzani Bookshop.
Separated into seven chapters or “acts” the book
is a treat of Ballenesque images taking readers on a deep journey into their subconscious.
Inspired by the sight of hand-drawn carvings on blacked-out windows in an abandoned women’s prison,
Roger Ballen started to experiment using different spray paints on glass
and then ‘drawing on’ or removing the paint with a sharp object to let natural light through.
The results are like prehistoric cave-paintings:
the black, dimensionless spaces on the glass are canvases onto which Ballen carves his thoughts and emotions.
Fossil-like facial forms and dismembered body parts coexist uncomfortably
with vaporous, ghost-like shadows. Earthly and otherworldly, physical and spiritual,
his work transcends all traditional concepts of photography.