OCAD University

OCAD Professional Gallery presents

Roger Ballen: Boarding House

TORONTO, February 9, 2009—The Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) Professional Gallery presents Roger Ballen: Boarding House from March 5 to May 31, 2009. This landmark exhibition honours the launch of photographer Roger Ballen’s eighth book, Boarding House (Phaidon).

Arguably his most formally sophisticated works to date, Ballen uses contrasts and shifting planes in the images in Boarding House to multiply meanings and overtones despite tight composition. The fragmented figures and rooms in these film-based monochromes seem both everywhere and nowhere. “It’s difficult to explain this place,” says Ballen, “except that I think it exists in some way or another in most peoples’ minds.” Charles Reeve, Curator of the Professional Gallery, describes the show as “too unsettling to see, yet too gripping to resist.” He adds, “These pictures are today’s surrealism.”

This groundbreaking show aims to expand Canadian viewers’ understanding of this important South African artist by placing key images from his latest book beside other decisive works of his from the past three decades. While Ballen’s pictures from the late 1970s to early 1990s draw from the photo-documentary tradition, they prefigure his interest in formal refinement and psychological complexity, traits that have become central to his art in the last 15 years. The inexplicable, obscure limbs, shadows and forms in Boarding House mark Ballen’s latest evolutionary step.

Roger Ballen: Boarding House
March 5 to May 31, 2009
Curator’s Tour: Thursday, March 5, 6:30 p.m.
Artist’s Talk and Book Signing: Wednesday, April 8, 6:30 p.m.

Ballen’s talk will be held in the OCAD Auditorium. Limited seating is available. Guests are advised to arrive early.

OCAD Professional Gallery
Level 2, 100 McCaul Street, Toronto
416-977-6000 Ext. 265 | www.ocad.ca
All are welcome; admission is free.
Gallery hours: Wednesday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 12 to 6 p.m.

Artist’s Biography
Born in New York in 1950, Roger Ballen has lived in South Africa since 1982. In 2002, Ballen won the Photographer of the Year Award at the inaugural Rencontres d’Arles Awards. Since that year, he has had over 50 exhibitions worldwide, including solo shows at the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, New York’s Gagosian Gallery, and Toronto's Clint Roenisch Gallery. His work has been collected by many museums, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Centre Pompidou, and the Museum of Modern Art. His many books include Boyhood (1979), Outland (2001) and Shadow Chamber (2005).

OCAD Professional Gallery
Launched in April 2007 with solo exhibits by Rirkrit Tiravanija and Karim Rashid, OCAD’s 1200 square-foot Professional Gallery is devoted to facilitating connections between, and the contemplation of, contemporary art and design.

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Images available on request. For more information please contact:

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer, OCAD
416-977-6000 Ext. 327 (mobile: Ext.1327)

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