Ben Rivers – Camden Arts Centre
A major new exhibition, and Edgelands,
a group show selected by the artist
25 September – 29 November 2015
Preview: 6.30 – 8.30pm, Friday 25 September 2015
This major solo show by British artist Ben Rivers (b.1972), brings together two of his seminal 16mm film works and two new films, premiering at Camden Arts Centre. To complement his exhibition, Rivers has curated a group show, Edgelands, exploring the overlooked fringes of the urban landscape. Both exhibitions run at Camden Arts Centre from 25 September until 29 November 2015 and entry is free.
Refusing to believe in the stability and permanence of our present, Rivers’ films offer intimate insights into alternative ways of life, following those who have removed themselves from an anthropocentric existence. In this exhibition Rivers gathers and reflects on individuals who, whilst geographically remote from one another, all attempt to withdraw into their own modestly constructed utopias. The films suggest endeavours to rehash, rehearse and test out ways of creating, imagining and of being, amidst shifting societal and planetary ecologies. Through the contemplative gaze of the camera, Rivers’ films do not offer a solution, but instead anticipate that one may emerge, giving rise to hope of an alternative future.
The films on show are: What Means Something (2015), a filmic portrait of the painter Rose Wylie; Phantoms of a Libertine (2012), set in the deserted flat of a now departed inhabitant; There Is A Happy Land Further Awaay (2015), filmed in the South Pacific; and Ah, Liberty! (2008) set in a remote hinterland and suggesting the possibility of an existence beyond a capitalist driven society.
The artist-curated exhibition based on the concept of ‘edgelands’ draws together a selection of works that have inspired Rivers’ interest in these borders of society, both physical spaces – the neglected peripheries of the city – and abstractly, where individuals have withdrawn from mainstream culture. Self-taught Ralph Eugene Meatyard’s photographs of the American mid-west outback, sit alongside La Ville Pétrifée by Max Ernst, Catherine Opie’s photographic Freeway series, Robert Smithson’s Tour of Monuments of the Passaic, J G Ballard’s Concrete Island, and others. Together they consider how social distance surfaces in architecture and landscape, the creative potential of the overlooked spaces and beauty in the deserted or disregarded.
Camden Arts Centre is a venue for contemporary visual art and education, where ideas are made visible and people of all ages and abilities can engage in the creative process of making art. Camden Arts Centre’s pioneering and varied programme of artist-led courses and other education activities has gained an international reputation as a model of good practice. It is known as a forward-thinking organisation where artists and others can see, make and talk about art.
Tuesday – Sunday: 10.00am-6.00pm
Wednesdays late: 10.00am-9.00pm
Twitter: @CamdenArtsCtr #BenRivers #Edgelands