Shadow Land is a new show, comprehensively revealing the extraordinary work of Roger Ballen. Revered for his contribution to contemporary photography and as one of the most important artists in the field of his generation, New York-born Ballen spent 30 years in South Africa, developing his style and documenting his surroundings, all in the consistent black and white and square format.
It’s an oeuvre that reveals a heavy and affecting aporia of immediate “extreme, uncanny beauty,” as described by the gallery, and the incomprehensible complexities of its subject matter, focussing quite deliberately on the marginalised people and the extreme-ness of their lives.
Though the format remains the same, the style evolved, we are told, into “documentary fiction,” making consciously indistinct “the line between reality and fantasy.” But does this make the images more understandable as perennial art rather than the deeply real and personal moment that existed for the society he has been witnessing since the 1980s? Either way, to be moved or disturbed or enthralled by a photo is a very real thing.
Shadow Land: Photographs by Roger Ballen 1983-2011 is now showing at the Manchester Art Gallery until May 13.
- Living for the weekend, it's Best of the Web!
- The photographer archiving South Africa’s black lesbian community
- Kirsten Lepore’s creepy clay character is oddly soothing in this brilliant animation
- Friday Mixtape: Grammy award-winning Tinariwen curates a genre-crossing mix
- Designer Kara Zichittella talks about her typographically-led projects
- “Where’s my community?”: Skin Deep and POC on the need for diversity in the film industry
- A new national identity: Smörgåsbord Studio rebrands Wales
- Graphic design gems: Chicago gang business cards from the 1970s and 80s
- Photographer Dougie Wallace captures the super rich spenders of “Harrodsburg”
- “Romance in a sort-of fantasy world”: photographer Molly Matalon's new work (some NSFW)
- Studio Michael Satter’s sophisticatedly simple graphic design portfolio
- Harry Pearce and Pentagram create a new identity for Pink Floyd’s record label