Roger Ballen was born in New York.
During the late 60s and early 70s, he attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he was exposed to the anti-psychiatry movement led by R.D. Laing, the theatre of the absurd, and the work of colourfield artists like Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman.
Their influence, coupled with the disillusionment he experienced during the Vietnam war; the Civil Rights Movement’s spirit of rebellion; and the feelings of isolation and introversion that followed the passing of his mother, formed the early stages of a career and aesthetic that are at once recognisably ‘Ballenesque’.
Select solo exhibitions to date include Roger Ballen: The Theatre of Apparitions at Hamiltons Gallery (London, UK: 2017); Roger Ballen: Asylum of the Birds at Daum Museum of Contemporary Art (Sedalia, USA: 2017); The House Project at Gallery MOMO, Cape Town, South Africa: 2016); Outland at David Krut Projects (Johannesburg: 2015); and Lines, Marks, and Drawings: Through the Lens of Roger Ballen at Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington, USA: 2013)
Select group exhibitions include \AIPAD – The Association of International Photography Art Dealers’ (Etherton Gallery, New York, United States: 2016); ‘No Joke: Roger Ballen and Asger Carlsen’ (V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark); Art of Others, Outsiders, Self Taught and Navive Artists at Haifa Museum (Haifa, Israel: 2012); ‘The Art of Photography Show’ (San Diego Art Institute, San Diego, California, USA: 2012); ‘Confounding: Contemporary Photography’ (National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia: 2012); ‘Domestic Disorder in Contemporary Art’ (Musexpo, Gouggainville, France: 2012); and ‘The Rise and Fall of Apartheid’ (International Centre of Photography, New York, USA: 2012-2013).