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Asylum of the Birds

Roger Ballen


An extraordinary monograph by one of the most original image-makers at work today, now expanded and updated to include previously unpublished work

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In a world in which many photographers seek to avoid definition, Roger Ballen’s photographs define themselves in their defiance of classification and genre: his world stands out as one of a kind.

The black-and-white images featured in Asylum of the Birds were created exclusively within the confines of a house in a Johannesburg suburb, the location of which remains a guarded secret. The inhabitants of the house, both human and animal – including, most notably, the ever-present birds – are the cast of Ballen’s world, performers amidst the theatrical interiors that they create and he orchestrates. The resulting images exist in a space between painting, drawing, installation and photography. They are timeless, psychologically powerful and masterfully composed.

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'Provocative, graphic, and unlike anything else you’re likely to have seen'
British Journal of Photography

'Ballen is a true original who not only defies genres, but defines his own artistic space'
Hungry Eye

'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'
Daily Telegraph

'A truly unique artistic vision. Highly recommended'
Lens Culture

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback with flaps

Size: 27.0 x 25.2 cm

Extent: 160 pp

Publication date: 28 March 2019

ISBN: 9780500294864

Contents List

Introduction by Roger Ballen; Plates; List of Works; Biography

About the Author

Roger Ballen is the recipient of numerous awards, including ‘Photographer of the Year’ at Rencontres d’Arles in 2002 and ‘Photography Book of the Year’ for Outland at Photo España in 2001.

List of Contributors

Didi Bozzini