Humans and animals collide, merge and replace each other in an enigmatic artistic collaboration between photographer Roger Ballen and sculptor and designer Hans Lemmen, presented under the title Unleashed at the Musée de la chasse et de la nature in Paris (March 7, 2017 – June 4, 2017).

Roger Ballen and Hans Lemmen Unleashed Exhibition in Paris | Urban Mishmash | Art and Culture in Paris
Roger Ballen and Hans Lemmen, Rendez-vous, 2016. © Roger Ballen and Hans Lemmen. Private Collection

The works presented at the Unleashed exhibition stem from a long-distance collaboration between Roger Ballen and Hans Lemmen, with Ballen based in South Africa and Lemmen in Netherlands. In a manner similar to the surrealist cadavre exquis game in which the participants contribute a drawing or words to a piece of paper passed between a group, Lemmen and Ballen worked on fragments of each other’s work. Lemmen reduced Ballen’s photographs to simple fragments, drew over or manipulated them to reconstruct his final pieces. Ballen, on the other hand, incorporated Lemmen’s illustrations into photographs and installations intended to be eventually photographed.

Roger Ballen and Hans Lemmen Unleashed Exhibition in Paris | Urban Mishmash | Art and Culture in Paris
Hans Lemmen and Roger Ballen, Entanglement, 2016. © Roger Ballen and Hans Lemmen. Private Collection

Roger Ballen is already well known on the international photography scene for his black and white photographs, sometimes described as dark and even frightening by the audience, and also for his collaboration with South African group Die Antwoord for their “I fink U freaky” video. Having already explored themes of human-animal connection in his previous work, Ballen hopes to find the ‘animal in human mind’, to find the point where people become animals. With regards to his work for Unleashed, he says, “I think the purpose of art to me as always been to help people come to terms with their own repression and this has always been the problem in society from day 1 that, I guess when mankind decided to live with other mankind…”.

Roger Ballen and Hans Lemmen Unleashed Exhibition in Paris | Urban Mishmash | Art and Culture in Paris
Roger Ballen and Hans Lemmen, Rip, 2016. © Roger Ballen and Hans Lemmen. Private Collection
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Musée de la chasse et de la nature

62 rue des Archives
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Human, Animal: Roger Ballen and Hans Lemmen’s ‘Unleashed’ Exhibition opens in Paris
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