Tuesday, December 4, 2007
I’m including an artist that I do not understand because how he talks about his work is intriguing. Ballen, who was born in New York but got involved in the mining industry in Johannesburg, South Africa where he found himself documenting the workers. In the mid 90s, he became a photographer of fictions. The series that peaked my interest was Shadow Chamber; it focuses on the interaction between the people, animals, and/or objects in the somewhat apprehensive space. His photographs have been noted as being painterly and sculptural. Which is one of the reasons why I felt a need to understand his work.
Ballen has often related his process of working to mining (he was a mining consultant), an ore car coming and going from a black hole, traveling back and forth from some place called the unconscious mind to some place called the conscious mind. He is often meticulous with the physical set up of the scene but yet gave total freedom of his models. I am including him as one of my artists because his work art baffles me. It seems deeply personal and for me to interpret it, it is like trying to interpret this man’s own memories.