Asylum of the Birds

Asylum of the Birds

  1. Roger Ballen
  2. Introduction by Didi Bozzini
  • ISBN 9780500544297
  • 30.00 x 28.00 cm
  • Hardback
  • 144pp
  • With 90 illustrations
  • First published 2014
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The much-awaited new monograph from Roger Ballen, one of the most revered and original image-makers of today

‘Provocative, graphic, and unlike anything else you’re likely to have seen’ – British Journal of Photography
‘At first the images seem dense, incomprehensible, but automatically your brain sets to work picking them apart … compelling’ – Amateur Photographer
‘Bears all the hallmarks of being both a culmination of Ballen’s previous works and a step further forward (or downward, if we use his analogy) in his exploration of the deepest, most confusing parts of his existence’ – The Daily Telegraph
‘Guaranteed to sink into your subconscious and haunt you – or inspire you. They represent a truly unique artistic vision. Highly recommended’ – Lens Culture
‘Confusing, stark, shocking and likely to be controversial’– Hot Shoe

This new body of work extends the artistic trajectory charted across Roger Ballen’s three previous books – Outland, Shadow Chamber and Boarding House.

See Roger Ballen's extraordinary short film

Asylum of the Birds

The black-and-white images were photographed within the confines of a house in a Johannesburg suburb, the location of which remains a mystery. The inhabitants of the house, both people and animals, and most notably, the ever-present birds, are the cast who perform within a sculptural and decorated theatrical interior that Roger Ballen creates and orchestrates.

The resulting images exist in a space between painting, drawing, installation and photography. They are timeless, psychologically powerful and masterfully composed. In a world in which photographers seek to avoid definition, Roger Ballen’s photographs defy classification and genres: his world stands out as one of a kind.

Roger Ballen is an American-born photographer who has lived and worked in South Africa since the 1970s. His previous award-winning books include Platteland (1994), Outland (2001), Shadow Chamber (2005) and Boarding House (2009). Roger Ballen’s photographs are collected by some of the most important institutions in the world and he has won numerous prestigious awards in photography and filmmaking.

Didi Bozzini is a curator, critic and writer based in Parma, Italy.