Ben Rivers

Profile  |  Artworks  |  Exhibitions  |  Network  |  Reviews  |  Comments
Slow Action, 2010 Film Still © Courtesy of the Artist and Matt's Gallery
Slow Action (film still), 2010 16 Mm Anamorphic, Col + B/W © Courtesy of Ben Rivers
Slow Action, 2010 Film Still © Courtesy of the artist and Matts Gallery
Slow Action, 2010 Film Still © Courtesy of the artist and Matts Gallery
Slow Action, 2010 Film Still © Courtesy of the artist and Matts Gallery
Origin of the Species (film still), 2008 16 Mm Film © Courtesy of Ben Rivers
Origin of the Species, 2008 Still © Courtesy of the artist & Kate MacGarry
The Coming Race, 2006 16 Mm Film B/W © Courtesy of Ben Rivers
Old Dark House (film still), 2003 16 Mm Fil B/W © Courtesy of Ben Rivers
© Courtesy of the Artist and Hayward Gallery Projects Space
© Courtesy of the Artist and Kate MacGarry
Slow Action, 2010 16 Mm Anamorphic Transferred To Digital Film, Col + B/W, 45' Still © Courtesy of the artist & Nogueras Blanchard
Still from Ah, Liberty! , 2008 Black & White Anamorphic 16mm 20 Min © Courtesy of the artist and Kate MacGarry Gallery, London
What Means Something © Courtesy of the Artist and Camden Arts Centre
Two Years at Sea, 2011 16mm Anamorphic Blown Up To 35mm © Ben Rivers
The Sky Trembles and the Earth is Afraid and the Two Eyes are Not Brothers, 2015. An Artangel, The Whitworth, Manchester, and BFI Film Fund Commission © Courtesy of the artist and Kate MacGarry, London
Quick Facts


Born Somerset, 1972

Education 1990-1993 Falmouth School of Art

The films of Ben Rivers (born Somerset, 1972, lives in London) are rich, cinematic portraits that explore wilderness environments and self-contained worlds, representing memory through visual fragments. Primarily shot on 16mm black and white film, sometimes on out-of-date stock, Rivers' work has the appearance of ageing, archival footage. The artist shoots on an old Bolex wind-up camera, and works creatively within its limitations – including contraints of duration, since its the longest continuous shot is 30 seconds. The aged appearance of the film is also partly a consequence of Rivers hand-processing each film in his own kitchen sink. He compares the creation of his films to assembling a collage, and although he places great emphasis on the editing process, he is in fact strongly involved in all stage of his films' creation, through his roles as cameraman, developer, editor and director. The distanced quality of Rivers work – albeit a knowing construction – extends to the spaces and subjects that the films focus on. Whether exposing desolate and crumbling interiors in works likeOld Dark House (2003) and its sequel House (2005), or portraying the hermetic world of the 'outsider' figure Jake Williams in the much acclaimed This is My Land (2006), Rivers' work is engaged with zones at the edges of contemporary life. Other works, such as Ah Liberty!(2008) which depicts a community inhabiting a rural and seemingly sublime landscape, appear to exist outside modern living altogether, signifying less alienation from the mainstream than liberation from it. Although they depict real-life subjects, Rivers' films are not primarily documentary or ethnographic in style, despite drawing heavily on these genres. Rather, his work is personal and fragmented, reminiscent of the idiosyncratic styles of Scottish filmmaker and poet Margaret Tait and American director George Kuchar. Other influences – perhaps less apparent in Rivers' imagery than in his soundtracks – are as wide-ranging as thriller, film noir and horror. This range of sources reflects Rivers' work at Brighton Cinematheque, where he has helped run a regular screening programme since 1996, one that includes both recent and historical work.


(text courtesy of ICA, UK)

Is this your profile?
Claim it!
ArtSlant has shutdown. The website is currently running in a view-only mode to allow archiving of the content.

The website will be permanently closed shortly, so please retrieve any content you wish to save.