Contemplation, 2008


Silver gelatin print with special edition hardcover book in slipcase

16.50 x 16.00 in

41.9 x 40.6 cm

Edition of 50

This work is signed and numbered by the artist.

PRICE: $2,100

16.50 x 16.00 in

41.9 x 40.6 cm

Edition of 50

Unframed: $2,100
Framed: $2,350
framing options
Select Framing Option
  • No Frame
PRICE:  or as low as LEARN MORE

    About The Work

    Roger Ballen's work focuses on a strange and alluring place that he calls the Boarding House, where he directs his subjects in a unique collaboration of imagination and reality. Toying with fantasy, Ballen's transient compositions create a question mark over our preconceptions of photography, creating a theatre out of the building blocks of documentary.

    In Contemplation the chaos has abated, and we witness a clean shirtless man holding a white duck to his face. Sitting in a man-made ditch he appears to be deep in conversation with the duck, listening intently to its story. An electrical cable is pinned neatly to the wall, but it seems not to be coming from, nor leading, anywhere. As always in the boarding house, the only consistency is the dirt and dust of its abandonment.

    Boarding House shows an imaginary space of transient residence, of coming and goings, of people sheltering in a strange place they are using for their immediate survival, furnished with objects that are necessarily for an elementary existence as well as mysterious items whose significance is impossible to discern. Remnants function as physical symbols of events that have occurred in this space; broken pieces of a functional reality exist as the leftovers of scenarios that were played out here. In his introductory essay to the book, veteran photography curator David Travis addresses this new body of work. Having evolved from and developed out of Roger Ballen's previous work, Boarding House differs in that the photographs have become even more formally sophisticated, and the sense of collaboration between the artist and his subjects increasingly evident.

    —Courtesy of Phaidon

    About Roger Ballen

    From The Magazine

    • The silver gelatin print was printed in 2008 in an edition of 50 plus 5 artist's proofs.

    • The quoted dimensions are for the sheet size. The image size is 14.25" x 14.375". The box size is 18" x 17.375".
    • Ships in 10 to 14 business days from United Kingdom. Framed works ship in 14 to 18 business days from New York.
    • This work is final sale and not eligible for return.
    • Questions about this work?
    • Interested in other works by this artist or other artists? We will source them for you.
    • Want to pay in installments?

    Contact an Artspace Advisor


    a treasure trove of fine art from the world's most renowned artists, galleries, museums and cultural institutions. We offer exclusive works you can't find anywhere else.


    through exclusive content featuring art news, collecting guides, and interviews with artists, dealers, collectors, curators and influencers.


    authentic artworks from across the globe. Collecting with us means you're helping to sustain creative culture and supporting organizations that are making the world a better place.


    with our art advisors for buying advice or to help you find the art that's perfect for you. We have the resources to find works that suit your needs.


    Artspace offers you authentic, exclusive works from world-renowned artists, galleries, museums and cultural institutions. Collecting with us helps support creative culture while bringing you art news, interviews and access to global art resources.