Roger Ballen: Roger the Rat
Nadine Barth and Roger Ballen
Ratatouille was yesterday
Under the sign of the rat
Surreal, refined, disturbing: Roger Ballen has made a name for himself with his special eye for what is usually considered minor or outside, yet is nevertheless profound and touching. In his hands, the documentary power of the camera merges with the ingenious power of his imagination to look into a person’s soul and get under the viewer’s skin. Elaborately produced between 2015 and 2020, his new project is called Roger the Rat. In oppressively sharp black-and-white shots, he follows the life of a creature whose body appears human, but who has the head of a rat. Picture after picture, we witness scenes that—deconstructed and wrested from everyday gestures—reveal the suppressed aspects of human existence. The catalogue presents the cycle of paintings as an impressive show that keeps the reader reflecting long after the last page.
ROGER BALLEN (*1950 , New York City) and living in South Africa since 1982 is one of the most important and original art photographers working today. He is best known for his probing, often challenging images that exist in a space between painting, drawing, installation, and photography that is commonly referred to as a "Ballenesque."