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The artwork depicts Roger The Rat giving a gift to his girlfriend. The gift consists of four white rats that are escaping the gift box.
"Most humans hate people such as me, as we challenge their illusion of stability and purpose. As a rat, I symbolise chaos and disorder. There is little hope of a better world until humanity comes to terms with the unpleasant fact that repression and fear are ultimately the masters of their destiny.” – Roger The Rat
Roger The Rat captures the multitude of Ballen’s artistic excellence such as photography, writing, directing and psychology. The artwork is quintessentially in Ballenesque aesthetic, that Ballen created himself during the course of five decades of taking photographs.
Produced in Johannesburg between 2015 and 2020, Ballen creates and documents a part-human, part-rat creature who lives an isolated life outside of mainstream society in an underground home. Roger the Rat lives and behaves like a rat, acting on animal instincts. He grew up in a place without windows or light and is regarded as dirty and evil by society. The character symbolises chaos and disorder.
Roger The Rat series consists of sixty photography works and a film. In 2020 Roger The Rat book was published by Hatje Cantz, featuring the photographic works. Today, photographs and short videos that were taken on set are available as unique art NFT’s.