Manchester Art Gallery

Curated Place film maker Maria Gabriella Ruban has worked in partnership with Manchester Art Gallery to produce two documentary films that accompany exhibitions by Turner Prize winning artist Mark Leckey and acclaimed US photographer Roger Ballen.

Manchester Art Gallery’s new collaborative programming relationship with London’s Serpentine Gallery launched in February 2012 with the opening of a major exhibition from Mark Leckey.

Work & Leisure presented new work especially commissioned for Manchester and a series of live performances by Mark Leckey. The exhibition included the film Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore and BigBoxIndustrialAction – an installation where a giant soundsystem confronted a three tonne steam chest.

Mark Leckey’s work encompasses sculpture, sound, film and performance and explores the potential of the human imagination to appropriate and to animate a concept, an object or an environment. Leckey also draws on his personal experiences, particularly his fascination with the Manchester dance music scene from his formative years spent in the North West.

Shadow Land: Photographs by Roger Ballen 1983-2011 was a major exhibition of work by photographer Roger Ballen whose work offers a powerful social critique and an extreme, uncanny beauty. The exhibition explored three decades of Ballen’s career, charting the evolution of his unique photographic style and demonstrated the contribution he has made to contemporary photography.

One of the most important photographers of his generation, Roger Ballen was born in New York in 1950 but for over 30 years he has lived and worked in South Africa. In his work from the early 1980s to mid 90s he gained world recognition and critical acclaim with his powerful and controversial images of those living on the margins of South African society.

Although retaining the same distinctive aesthetic, (all his work is in black and white, square format) in the last decade Ballen’s work has evolved into a style he describes as ‘documentary fiction’ where the line between reality and fantasy is deliberately blurred. In doing so, his work enters into a new realm of photography; the images are painterly and sculptural in ways not immediately associated with photography.