The Artist/Filmmaker Ben Rivers has been awarded one of the first two Artangel Open commissions alongside writer and artist Katrina Palmer. Their proposals were chosen from over 1,500 submissions by a panel including Artangel’s James Lingwood and Michael Morris, Radio 4’s Arts Commissioning Editor Tony Phillips, and artists Clio Barnard and Roger Hiorns.
Open is a £1 million initiative by Artangel and BBC Radio 4 for new site-specific commissions across the UK. It’s a call for artists working in any media to share proposals for ground-breaking projects that will transform the UK’s cultural landscape.
Previous Artangel Open calls have led to some of the most iconic projects of the past decade – Michael Landy’s Break Down, the very public destruction in a department store on Oxford Street of absolutely everything the artist owned; Jeremy Deller’s The Battle of Orgreave in South Yorkshire, the re-enactment of a dark day in the conflict between police and colliery workers during the 1984 Miners’ Strike; Roger Hiorns’s Seizure, the brilliant blue crystal council flat in South London; and Clio Barnard’s award-winning film The Arbor shot on the Buttershaw Estate in Bradford.
Ben Rivers is an artist/ filmmaker whose work has been shown in many festivals and galleries around the world. His films, which blur the boundaries between documentary and fiction, often take outsiders – people who have separated themselves from mainstream society – as their subjects. His work obliquely explores themes such as ‘wilderness’, or, as is the case in the film that is being shown in this exhibition, ‘freedom’.
Using old technology, normally 16mm film shot on a Bolex camera and then developed at home, Rivers creates off-beat narratives that depict and imagine ways of life in marginal or overlooked worlds. Sometimes, when it is shown in art galleries, his work incorporates elements of installation.