• FRAGMENTS | Roger Ballen / Massimo Pupillo / Gabriele Tinti

The album Fragments places Gabriele Tinti's poems and Roger Ballen's images in the context of Massimo Pupillo's sound world, where the inevitability of suffering is expressed through Ballen's uniquely dark recitation.

The music, words and images are intended to recreate a “primordial cave”. In Tinti's poetic vision, “Primordial Man was the consumer of the divine. In him, in his art, there was a constant exchange of energy with the sacred. Caves were probably necropolises : the dead were taken there and fed with the flesh and blood of an animal divinity that was sacrificed as bearer of unifying strength. Animam pro anima. Cor pro corde. As an intensified, repeated, primary act, it became a rite and consequently a cult. The entire figurative pantheon of Paleolithic man seems intended as a fulfilment of that rite. Man replicated the horror of killing with his signs and his pictures on the cave walls, freeing himself from the terror. Art then really did come to grips with the world, a laceration bearing the memory of the violence done to existing creatures. It was desire, prayer, wound, sore, sign produced on the simulacra of the bodies of animals and, at times, of men. What have we done, what will we do in the years to come if not to try to repeat, to relive this act of our beginning?.”

The text by Gabriele Tinti was first published in 2020 in the book The Earth Will come To Laugh and To Feast (Powerhouse Books, New York) a collection of poems with illustrations by the artist Roger Ballen.

As a coda to this obsessive tale, Massimo Pupillo explores the possibility of a soundtrack to Roger Ballen’s 1972 film Ill Wind, where the film's protagonist might find meaning, albeit a sisyphean one, and perhaps also consolation, in his struggles.


  1. Cor Pro Corde (20:26)
  2. Animam Pro Anima (18:45)
  3. Music for Ill Wind (20:10)
Cor Pro Corde (excerpt)

Animam Pro Anima (excerpt)

Ill Wind (excerpt)

Unsounds 79U record cover

Unsounds 79U inside cover

Unsounds 79U cover detail

Fragments cover design by Isabelle Vigier.

Bedfellows (2003). Photo by Roger Ballen.
Bedfellows (2003) by Roger Ballen (courtesy Roger Ballen)


Roger Ballen is one of the most important photographers of his generation. He was born in New York in 1950 but has been living and working in South Africa for over 40 years. Over the past 50 years his distinctive style of photography has evolved using a simple square format in stark and beautiful black and white. In his earlier works his connection to the tradition of documentary photography is clear but through the 1990s he developed a style he describes as “Ballenesque” which involves mise-en-scènes and mixed media. Over the past two decades, Ballen has employed drawings, painting, collage and sculptural techniques to create enigmatic, mysterious sets for his images. Roger Ballen has created a unique aesthetic in these works but one still rooted firmly in photography.

Gabriele Tinti is an Italian poet and writer who's work focuses on the subject of death and suffering, where he often explores the broken lives of the defeated and the disabled. He has worked with the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the British Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Roman Museum, the Capitolini Museums, the Archeological Museum in Naples, the Ara Pacis Museums, the Colosseum and the Glyptothek of Munich, composing poems for ancient works of art, including The Boxer at Rest, the Discobolus, Arundel Head, the Ludovisi Gaul, the Victorious Youth, the Farnese Hercules, the Hercules by Scopas, the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon, the Barberini Faun and many other masterpieces. Those poems have been recited by actors like Abel Ferrara, Malcolm McDowell and Franco Nero.

Massimo Pupillo is well known for being a founding member of Zu, for his solo work on bass, and for his many collaborations in the world of rock music and improvisation with stars such as FM Einheit (Einstürzende Neubauten), Thurston Moore, Jim O'Rourke (Sonic Youth), Guy Picciotto & Joe Lally (Fugazi), Peter Brotzmann and Tony Buck. Massimo also keeps a multidisciplinary approach to his practice, that has led him to work with some of the most acclaimed figures in today's art world: Romeo Castellucci and Chiara Guidi (of the avant garde theatre group Societas Raffaello Sanzio), american choreographer Meg Stuart, french opera star Marie-Agnes Gillot, contemporary dance group Dewey Dell, and here a collaboration with artist/photographer Roger Ballen and poet Gabriele Tinti. He has collaborated live and on record with avant-garde musicians and composers such as Alvin Curran (founder of Musica Elettronica Viva in 1966), piano duo of Katia & Marielle Labeque and classical music virtuosos Viktoria Mullova and Giovanni Sollima. He has also recorded with Canadian soprano and orchestra conductor Barbara Hannigan.

Pupillo appears on Unsounds on the album Clap. An Anatomy of Applause (2022).

Roger Ballen
Roger Ballen - courtesy Roger Ballen
Gabriele Tinti
Gabriele Tinti - photo Mauro Maglione
Massimo Pupillo
Massimo Pupillo - photo Marco Portello


All music by Massimo Pupillo
Texts by Gabriele Tinti
Voice by Roger Ballen
Mastering by Andy Moor
Images by Roger Ballen
Design by Isabelle Vigier


FRAGMENTS | Roger Ballen / Massimo Pupillo / Gabriele Tinti

  • Catalogue #: 79U
  • Format: CD
  • Release date: February 2024
  • Availability: In Stock
  • €14.00

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Tags: Massimo Pupillo, photography, poetry, Roger Ballen, Gabriele Tinti, Isabelle Vigier