December 19, 2009

Roger Ballen’s Boarding House at the Gagosian

The Gagosian Gallery on Madison Avenue is currently hosting an exhibition of photographs by Roger Ballen. The photographs were made in a three-story warehouse that functions as a boarding house for the disenfranchied and impoverished families in Johannesburg. Although the photographs function as a document of a sort, the carefully constructed photographs more closely resemble the boxes of Joseph Cornell in the meticulous arrangement of artifacts for composition and re-interpretation. The images are printed in a large format (50x50cm to 80x80cm) and it's worth seeing the prints in person. Alternately, Phaidon has produced a book. Ballen also features some of the images on his website.

An aside: The gallery is also featuring an exhbition of "Modern Masters" on the fourth floor. Included in the exhibition is Mark Rothko's Plum and Black, a large dark canvas that mesmerized me in the way Kapoor's work often does. If I win the lottery, I might have to treat myself to it as a Christmas present to myself. :)

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