From Andrew Frost…
Alongside Petrina Hick’s current show at Stills Gallery is Roger Ballen’s Die Antwoord: I Fink U Freeky, a series of images taken when the American-born South African resident photographer directed a video for the rap-rave band Die Antwoord [Afrikaan for The Answer]. Positioning themselves as latter day musical anarchists, Die Antwoord found the perfect partnership with Ballen, a photographer known for both his collaborative work ethic and elastic attitude to the truth in documentary image making. The band courted the photographer, writing gushing emails praising his work and vision, and a momentary partnership was born.
The work in the show is largely tied to the images shot on set for the shoot I Fink U Freeky, but also includes a portrait of the band for The New York Times. All of Ballen’s trademark visual tropes can be found in the images. But in their moody, black and white atmospherics, much of the humour of the band’s provocative self-image and raucous music is lost. But something else is found in the images that is largely missing in the music – a sense of ambiguity and uncertainty, as the images balance between profundity and throw-away disposability.
Until October 5
Stills Gallery, Paddington.
Pic: Roger Ballen, Yolandi & Rats, 2012. Pigment print, 28x35cms.