Anne Ferran didn’t know what to expect when she stumbled across an archive in one of Sydney’s public library almost a decade ago.

Hidden among the books was a small archive of 38 photographs, each containing an image of a female patient from the Sydney Psychiatric hospital in 1948.

Impassioned by these images, Anne Ferran has since exhibited a number of shows that relate to this archive, the first being Insula, 1-38, Anybody, as well as her own investigations into the photograph, stating:

As a believer in the residual power of the past to unsettle the present, I wanted to investigate the capacity of photography and performance to do this kind of work.”

Ferran has since collaborated with dancers Tess de Quincey, Victoria Hunt and Linda Luke, from the Sydney-based company De Quincey Co, and many others to create images that transcribe a similar type of uncanny as that first archive did for her, dying and painting felt to cloak over the dancers bodies distorting the image through the one-lensed camera.

Her new show, Box of birds, a New Zealand expression for joyous exuberance or wellbeing, opens this week at Sutton Gallery.

To Ferran it suggests something else – “the fluttering energy of unquiet spirits in a confined space.”

Box of Birds at Sutton Gallery
7th Feb – 7th March 2015

Price: Free