Blind Magazine : photography at first sight

Roger Ballen’s Bizarre World

Les Douches la Galerie presents Roger Ballen's "Enigma", a selection of images and prints from the 1980s and 1990s. A deep dive into the "Ballenesque" world of the master of anguish.

Whether enigmatic, mysterious or whimsical, Roger Ballen's photos are the kind that call for a pause. Time for contemplation, to appreciate the composition, always perfectly crafted, but also time for mediation. Empty gazes, distorted faces and phantasmagorical sketches emerge in obscure settings. With "Enigma", Roger Ballen delivers a gritty history of the strange.

A former geologist, Roger Ballen doesn't stop at the surface: he delves into all the strata of human life, penetrating so deeply into the human psyche that he reaches into the limbo of our minds. The photographer never ceases to flirt with unease, revealing the monstrosity that nestles in the darkest aspects of the human condition.

The contrast of blacks and whites exacerbates anomalies. Disregarding reality, they draw us into the image, as close as possible to the meaning it conceals. In this theater of the absurd, Ballen demonstrates his mastery of the subtle balance between the aesthetic and the symbolic. Chaos is controlled. There is never a compositional error.

Roger Ballen's exhibition Enigma is on show at
at Galerie les Douches until November 25, 2023.

Don’t miss the latest photographic news, subscribe to Blind newsletter.