The Cornwall Workshop - profiles

Ben Rivers

Artist and filmmaker Ben Rivers was born in Somerset in 1972 and is now based in London. He studied Fine Art at Falmouth School of Art, initially in the sculpture department before moving into photography and super-8 filmmaking. Since completing his degree, he has worked mainly with hand-processed 16mm film and is largely self-taught in this regard. In 1996, he co-founded the Brighton Cinemathèque, which he co-programmed until its demise in 2006.

His practice as a filmmaker treads the line between documentary and fiction. Often filming people who have in some way separated themselves from society, Rivers uses this raw footage as a starting point to construct oblique narratives that imagine alternative existences in marginal worlds.

He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Tiger Award for Short Film, International Film Festival Rotterdam (2015 & 2008); FIPRESCI International Critics’ Award, 68th Venice Film Festival (2011); Baloise Art Prize, Art Basel (2011) and Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Artists (2010). Solo exhibitions of his work have been held at Camden Arts Centre, London (2015); BBC Television Centre, London as part of an Artangel Open Commission (2015); Temporary Gallery, Cologne (2014); Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2013); Hepworth Wakefield (2012) and Hayward Gallery, London (2011). He recently curated the exhibition Edgelands (2015) at Camden Arts Centre and is currently a Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University.

Ben Rivers, What Means Something, 2015, 16mm film
Image courtesy the artist and Camden Arts Centre.

Ben Rivers, A Distant Episode, 2015, 16mm film
Image courtesy the artist and LUX

benrivers.com