The Theatre of Apparitions



ISBN: 9780500544648 Category:

Roger Ballen


With a career spanning over four decades, Roger Ballen is best known for his psychologically powerful and masterfully composed images that exist in a space between painting, drawing, installation and photography. This book is both a departure from his existing oeuvre and the culmination of his unique aesthetic linking image-making and theatrical performance. Separated into seven chapters or ‘acts’, these Ballenesque images take readers on a journey deep into their subconscious.

Inspired by the sight of hand-drawn carvings on blacked-out windows in an abandoned women’s prison, Ballen started to experiment using different spray paints on glass and then ‘drawing on’ or removing the paint with a sharp object to let natural light through. The results are like prehistoric cave-paintings: the black, dimensionless spaces on the glass are canvases onto which Ballen carves his thoughts and emotions. Fossil-like facial forms and dismembered body parts co-exist uncomfortably with vaporous, ghost-like shadows – these images have the capacity to shock, inspire, amuse and even elate viewers.

Timeless and innovative, earthly and otherwordly, physical and spiritual, his work transcends all traditional concepts of photography.

Additional information

Weight 878 g
Dimensions 17.9 x 24.7 cm
Publisher name Thames and Hudson Ltd
Publication date 1 October 2016
Number of pages 192
Format Hardback
Dimensions 17.9 x 24.7 cm
Weight 878 g


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Roger Ballen is the recipient of numerous awards, including 'Photographer of the Year' at Rencontres d'Arles in 2002 and 'Photography Book of the Year' for Outland at Photo EspaƱa in 2001.