Boarding House shows an imaginary space of transient residence, of coming and goings, of people without homes, sheltering in an abode that they are using for their immediate survival. The structure is basic and fundamental and it is furnished with objects that are necessarily for an elementary existence. Remnants function here as physical symbols of events that have occurred in this space; broken pieces of a functional reality exist as the leftovers of scenarios that were played out here.The altered sense of place of this temporary abode for by-passers who play out their sense of alienation on the stage gives the work depth of significance as both a psychological and aesthetic statement. Having evolved from and developed out of Roger Ballen’s previous work, Boarding House differs significantly in that the work has become even more formally sophisticated and more focused on the drawing and sculptural elements of the photographs, and the sense of collaboration between the artist and his subjects increasingly evident. In his introductory essay, veteran photography curator David Travis addresses this new body of work in an accessible way, looking at these new images in the wider context of Ballen’s career.
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