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First solo exhibition in Cape Town of photographer Roger Ballen on view at Gallery MOMO
Beholder, 2010.


CAPE TOWN.- Gallery MOMO in Cape Town is presenting The House Project, the first solo exhibition in Cape Town of American-born photographer Roger Ballen who has lived and worked in South Africa since the 1970s. In collaboration with Didi Bozzini (Parma based, Italian curator, critic and writer) The House Project draws on Ballen’s fascination with the subconscious mind focusing on a sense of the absurd and the exploration of a world on the fringes of society and rationality.

The House Project references the ‘analytical psychological’ theories of Carl Gustav Jung; using his analytical insights into the symbolic imagination, which according to Jung is situated in the collective unconscious of the mind, the psychical sphere that houses the archetypes. In addition to the psychological theories of Jung, Ballen also acknowledges French philosopher Gaston Bachelard’s reflections on the ‘material imaginary’ and the ‘poetics of space’. Bachelard in his renowned book The Poetics of Space states: “To say that the poetic image is independent of causality is to make a rather serious statement. But the causes cited by psychologists and psychoanalysts can never really explain the wholly unexpected nature of the new image, any more than they can explain the attraction it holds for a mind that is foreign to the process of its creation”.

Ballen furthermore explains: “Working from the metaphor of the mind as a house, which both these thinkers (Jung and Bachelard) share, we (Ballen and Bozzini) attempted to organize an anthology in which the photographs, regardless of date, would follow an ascending course, guiding the viewer along a path of association based on analogies between images, from darkness to light, from cellar to attic”.

The nature of his personal path as an artist, which unquestionably points to an aesthetic canon, but at the same time is essentially tied to existential concerns, would seem to justify an approach that moves away from the historical perspective, favouring a psychological one, and with it, evoking the possible literary or philosophical references in his works.

Roger Ballen’s photographs are included in some of the most distinguihed t institutions in the world such as Los Angeles County Museum of Art, USA; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA; Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA; Louisiana Museum, Denmark; Maison Europeene de la Photographie, Paris; Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and many more. He has won numerous prestigious awards in photography and filmmaking and published award-winning books: Asylum of the Birds (2014), Boarding House (2009), Shadow Chamber (2005), Outland (2001) and Platteland (1994).

The House Project at Gallery MOMO, Cape Town runs until 28 April 2016.





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