Roger Ballen’s Menagerie
Roger Ballen

Roger Ballen is regarded as one of the most influential and important photographic artists of the 21st century, whose illustrious career spans over forty years.

He debuts his first solo exhibition in Singapore and Malaysia with Wei-Ling Contemporary-first in Singapore, in conjunction with the Singapore International Photo Festival (SIPF) 2016 at Gilman Barracks in September, and thereafter in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia at the gallery’s 9000 sqft space at The Gardens Mall. The exhibition entitled, Roger Ballen’s Menagerie, will bring together a selected compilation of 45 iconic works that span past series such as the Asylum of the Birds, Boarding House, Outland, Shadow Chamber through to his latest body of work entitled, The Theatre of Apparitions.

‘We are greatly honoured and excited to represent and exhibit Roger Ballen’s works in both Singapore and Malaysia, in the coming months. He is truly a force to be reckoned with, in the international art world and we are humbled to have been given the opportunity to work with him. We hope that by bringing this historical exhibition to Singapore and Malaysia, that it will reach out and inspire artists and photographers from the region’ enthused Lim Wei-Ling, gallery director of Wei-Ling Gallery and Wei-Ling Contemporary.

Roger Ballen is not one to conform to societal norms, in fact he challenges them. Disturbing, dark, gritty, grotesque, these are just some of the words that come to mind when looking at his photographs. When viewing his works, one can see how Roger composes a juxtaposition of found objects, humans and animals that also bring out a sense of irony and absurdity. In doing so, Ballen forces the viewer to re-think the inter-relationships between the objects portrayed in his work.

By eliminating all colour in his photographs, Ballen is able to create images that are not a mimicry of reality; but instead a tangible depiction of his own mind. He takes you on a voyage through his thought process; with the exaggerated facial expressions, the quirky characters portrayed in the photographs, the child-like scribbles and graffiti on the walls in the background. Nothing is supposed to make sense; it only needs to reel you into the wacky, weird yet wonderful journey.

When Ballen takes a photograph, he doesn’t just tell you any story, he tells you this specific story about the land, the people he’s met throughout, the journey in documenting the essence of a certain place, a certain foreign country. And the stories are not of a perfect, happy world. The stories are of a people living in a world that makes no sense, a world where the lines between reality and fiction are nullified close to being non-existent. Roger Ballen doesn’t believe in traditional definitions of beauty. What we might think of as “traditionally beautiful”, Ballen finds that they have their own disturbance. Roger Ballen believes that as a photographer, one can see the mask in front of everyone’s face; he feels the need to go beyond that, he feels compelled to journey deeper psychologically to make art.

Roger Ballen was born in New York (b.1950) and has lived and worked in South Africa for over 30 years. His works have been exhibited internationally at the world’s most important museums and art institutions, and his works can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), Tate Britain (London) amongst numerous other esteemed museums and galleries worldwide.

Roger Ballen’s ‘Menagerie’ will be showing from 4th November to 31st December 2016 at Wei-Ling Contemporary.

Wei-Ling Contemporary is located at RT01 Sixth Floor, The Gardens Mall, 59200, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Admission hours are Tuesday-Sunday 11am-7pm.

Please call 0322828323/ 0322601106 or email: for more information.