The second solo exhibition of Roger Ballen, including stills from the ‘I Fink U Freeky’ music video he directed and work from the Shadow Chamber series, which inspired Ninja and Yo-landi to launch Die Antwoord, opened on September 18th.
It seems New York-born photographer Roger Ballen always had an interest in outcasts. This is most famously proven by a photograph of the mentally and physically disabled twins Dresi and Casie. He is also known to build up an intimate relationship with his subjects. Given his background and style, it seems that there was no option but to collaborate with Die Antwoord, who he has known for seven or eight years.
Although Ballen says he didn’t listen to ‘I Fink U Freeky’ beforehand, the Zef duo’s provocative nature is perfectly reproduced through his lens. “It is what’s out there,” the renowned photographer emphasises at the opening of the exhibition.
Created as an artistic documentation of what exists as opposed to achieving a specific audience response, some stills stand out more than others. One image, for example, shows Yo-landi in a bath caressing a duck beneath a drawing of naked mixed-sex humanistic animals. The picture exemplifies how individual themes can be read into the still allowing it to confidently stand alone.
A hint to the animal in us, perhaps? Nonetheless, its composition shows that there can be beauty in the obscure regardless of artistic intention. The exhibition at Erdmann Contemporary & The Photographer’s Gallery runs until 27 October and prints go for $5000 – $6000.
In issue 22 we interviewed Roger Ballen see the article here.
In November 2010, one small seed TV also met up with the Photographer for an enlightening one-on-one, watch the interview here.
Words: Christine Hogg