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Asylum of the Birds

Roger Ballen

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The much-awaited new monograph from Roger Ballen, one of the most revered and original image-makers of today

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

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.

‘At first the images seem dense, incomprehensible, but automatically your brain sets to work picking them apart … compelling’ – Amateur Photographer

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'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

'Confusing, stark, shocking and likely to be controversial'
Hot Shoe

'Guaranteed to sink into your subconscious and haunt you - or inspire you. They represent a truly unique artistic vision. Highly recommended'
Lens Culture

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

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 30.0 x 28.0 cm

Extent: 144 pp

Publication date: 24 March 2014

ISBN: 9780500544297

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