Magazine of art press and reviews from London
David Franchi – Monday, 7th December 2015
The Ben Rivers exhibitions were much participated, at the Camden Arts Centre, London.
‘Earth Needs More Magicians’, a major new solo exhibition and ‘Edgelands’, a group show selected by Ben Rivers, were at the Camden Arts Centre, London.
The work of Rivers usually focuses on alternative lifestyle. He explores different personal approaches, by chasing those who have abandoned a life positioned into a humankind contest.
In this exhibition, Ben Rivers reflects on persons who all attempt to hide into their own discreetly created ideal dens. However, he focused on individuals who geographically were located at a remote distance. The common rationale of the show was ecology, from a social and environmental point of view. The artist did not offer solutions but raised the problem.
This major solo show by British artist Ben Rivers (b.1972) brought together two of his seminal 16mm film works, ‘Phantoms of a Libertine’ (2012), set in the deserted flat of a now departed inhabitant and ‘Ah, Liberty!’ (2008) set in a remote hinterland and proposing an option of a life beyond a capitalist driven society. There were also two new films, premiering at Camden Arts Centre, ‘What Means Something’ (2015), a filmic portrait of the painter Rose Wylie and ‘There is a Happy Land Further Away’ (2015), filmed in the South Pacific.
The works of Rivers have a hint form the past. They look like home made movies people were used to do in the 1960/70s, when the Super 8 cameras became available. It seems to watch the film made by the uncle during the Christmas family party.
‘Edgelands’, instead, examined the disregarded periphery of the urban landscape. It was a mainly paintings group show curated by Ben Rivers. Based on concept of edge lands, the exhibition brought together a series of works that have inspired Rivers. It focused on the mistreated peripheries of nowadays humanity (the physical spaces) which are also the shelters of some people who pulled off the plug from the mainstream society – the abstract space.
Artists of ‘Edgelands’ included: Keith Arnatt, J. G. Ballard, Jeremy Butler, Prunella Clough, Max Ernst, Helen Levitt, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Stuart Middleton, Catherine Opie and Robert Smithson.
Both Ben Rivers exhibitions, ‘Edgelands’ and ‘Earth Needs More Magicians’, run at Camden Arts Centre, London, from 26th September until 29th November 2015.