Sunshine Co presents Roger Ballen, Asylum of the Birds

As part of its commitment to continuously supporting and showcasing local photographic talent, Sunshine Co is proud to announce that it will be exhibiting Roger Ballen on 1 June as part of First Thursdays, Johannesburg.    

Asylum of the Birds is the title under which Roger Ballen collected his work from the years 2003 to 2013. The black-and-white images were photographed in a house on the outskirts of Johannesburg, which, mingling truth and fiction, harboured a motley assortment of inhabitants and a remarkable number of birds, flying free. The location has remained a mystery.  But it is recognised as a symbolic place at the meeting point of earth and sky, life and death, freedom and constraint, hell and heaven. It was an asylum, both refuge and prison, nest and cage.

The imagery was rife with birds, white dove or black raven, a Biblical apparition that is the harbinger of the future or the delirious dream of an end without end, reminiscent of the verses of Edgar Allan Poe. In the ambiguity of symbols and metaphors, the group of photographs has delineated a universe reminiscent of the work of Francisco Goya, specifically his series of prints Los Caprichos.

The inhabitants of the house, both people and animals, most notably the birds were the cast that performed within a sculptural and decorated theatrical interior created and orchestrated by Ballen. The resulting space lay between painting, drawing, installation and photography. The series was published by Thames & Hudson in 2014.

“We are extremely excited to have acquired Roger Ballen for this event. He is an exceptional talent and will be a welcomed addition on the Keyes Art Mile in Rosebank come 1 June,” said Sunshine Co Managing Director, Adrian Nakic.

Doors open at 18:00, admission is free, refreshments available

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