Exhibitions

Islands

Ben Rivers

04/23 – 07/03/16

Ben Rivers, Islands, Exhibition View, Kunstverein in Hamburg, 2016, Photo: Fred Dott
Ben Rivers, Islands, Exhibition View, Kunstverein in Hamburg, 2016, Photo: Fred DottBen Rivers, Islands, Exhibition View, Kunstverein in Hamburg, 2016, Photo: Fred DottBen Rivers, Islands, Exhibition View, Kunstverein in Hamburg, 2016, Photo: Fred Dott

In his first institutional solo exhibition in Germany at the Kunstverein in Hamburg, Ben Rivers (*1972 in Somerset, England, lives and works in London) focuses on secluded parts of the world and its population groups which he examines in regard to their isolated and utopian socialization.

Rivers’ films combine landscape and portrait shots with ethnological methods and elements of travel documentations, without strictly adhering to the respective genre rules. His filmic essays focus on people and life plans in marginal regions of our civilization and beyond our societal conventions. In analogy to regarding the cinema as a self-contained experiential space to which social norms and notions only conditionally apply, Rivers grasps his filmic works as meditative portrayals of secluded places and hermetic worlds. For his recordings, he uses 16mm cameras, often developing the film by hand. This closeness to the material and its almost tangible physical presence are reflected in his works that integrate their manual production process in the narration. Moreover, Rivers subtly intervenes in the postproduction phase and sets the film to poetic audio tracks that disrupt the visual contemplation. In this manner, Rivers repeatedly distances his films from their utopian fiction and grounds them in a reality, whose effects do not even leave the most remote islands and their inhabitants untouched. Environmental phenomena such as El Nino, polluted oceans, and also the impact of the global trade routes have long left