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The Theater of Apparitions.

Photographs by Roger Ballen.
Thames & Hudson, New York, USA, 2016. 192 pp., 90 black-and-white illustrations.



Publisher's Description

The Theatre of Apparitions is an immersive and groundbreaking new monograph by the critically acclaimed art photographer Roger Ballen.

The author of numerous publications, including Asylum of the Birds and Outland, Ballen is best known for his psychologically powerful and masterfully composed images that exist in a space between painting, drawing, installation, and photography. This book is both a departure from his existing oeuvre and the culmination of his unique aesthetic linking image-making and theatrical performance. Separated into seven chapters or “acts,” these Ballenesque images take readers on a journey deep into the subconscious.

Initially inspired by the drawings and marks people make on their environment, Ballen started to experiment using different spray paints on glass and then “drawing on” or removing the paint with a sharp object to let natural light through. The resulting images are like prehistoric cave-paintings: the black, dimensionless spaces on the glass are canvases onto which Ballen carves his thoughts and emotions. Fossil-like facial forms and dismembered body parts co-exist uncomfortably with vaporous, ghost-like shadows—these images have the capacity to shock, inspire, amuse, and even elate viewers. Timeless and innovative, earthly and otherworldly, physical and spiritual, his work transcends the traditional concepts of photography.


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