Ben Rivers Awarded The Second EYE Art & Film Prize 2016

The British artist and filmmaker Ben Rivers has been announced as the second winner of the EYE Art & Film Prize 2016 at a ceremony in Amsterdam’s EYE Filmmuseum on 7 April 2016. He received the £25,000 GBP prize to fund the making of new work.  In 2018, EYE will present an exhibition of the first three Prize winners’ work in Amsterdam.

The EYE Prize, created by the Dutch film museum EYE and the Paddy & Joan Leigh Fermor Arts Fund, aims to support and promote an artist or filmmaker whose work has contributed to the developments in the field between art and film in a remarkable manner.

London-based Ben Rivers was chosen from a shortlist presented to the Jury by an international Advisory Board. The selection was made on the basis of the recipient’s body of work – Rivers is developing a significant oeuvre, contributing in an outstanding manner to the developments in the field between visual arts and film.

Ben Rivers’ work as an artist/filmmaker treads a line between documentary and fiction – often following and filming people who have in some way separated themselves from society. The raw film footage provides Rivers with a starting point for creating oblique narratives imagining alternative existences in marginal worlds.  

On behalf of the Jury, Sandra den Hamer, CEO of the EYE Filmmuseum and chair of the EYE Art & Film Prize, said: 

Ben Rivers is one of the new strong voices of his generation, where boundaries between cinema and the other arts no longer exist. In his visually stunning work, he shows his engagement with today’s society. Ben Rivers has a poetic eye, which  makes him an elegant and sensitive observer of life and nature.

Ben Rivers studied Fine Art at Falmouth School of Art, initially in sculpture before moving into photography and super8 film. After his degree he taught himself 16mm filmmaking and hand-processing. His practice as a filmmaker treads a line between documentary and fiction. Often following and filming people who have in some way separated themselves from society, the raw film footage provides Rivers with a starting point for creating oblique narratives imagining alternative existences in marginal worlds.

He is the recipient of numerous prizes including: FIPRESCIInternational Critics Prize, 68th Venice Film Festival for his first feature film Two Years At Sea; the BaloiseArt Prize, Art Basel 42, 2011; shortlisted for the Jarman Award 2010/2012; Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Artists, 2010. Recent exhibitions include: Slow Action, Hepworth Wakefield, 2012; Sack Barrow, Hayward Gallery, London, 2011; Slow Action, Matt’s Gallery, London and Gallery TPW, Toronto, 2011; A World Rattled of Habit, A Foundation, Liverpool, 2009. Artist-in-focus include Courtisane Festival; PesaroInternational Film Festival; London Film Festival; Tirana Film Festival; Punto de Vista, Pamplona;Indielisboa and Milan Film Festival.

In 1996 he co-founded Brighton Cinematheque which he then co-programmed through to its demise in 2006 – renowned for screening a unique programme of film from its earliest days through to the latest artist’s film and video.

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