January 31, 2010

Yow, Boarding House By Roger Ballen

ballen_boarding_house.jpg

Roger Ballen is an American-born artist working in Johannesburg. I missed "Boarding House," his show at Gagosian last fall, and after reading my friend Brian's review for Artforum, I can't tell if I'm bummed or relieved:

The images were made in collaboration with the residents of a Johannesburg warehouse that, from Ballen's description, seems like a miniature shantytown--a warren of tiny rooms that for decades has been its own ecosystem. There, some of society's marginalized figures (a few labor in nearby mines, although many are entirely destitute) scratch out an existence of minimal comfort, their small dwellings divided not by solid walls but by rugs, sheet metal, and other provisional materials.
In this case, collaboration means staging, and the residents doing the wall drawings.

Roger Ballen, "Boarding House," through Dec. 23, 2009 on Madison [gagosian via briansholis.com]

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