Ben Rivers

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Ben Rivers (born in 1972) is an artist and experimental filmmaker based in London. His work has been shown in many film festivals and galleries around the world and has won numerous awards. His work ranges from themes about exploring unknown wilderness territories to candid and intimate portrayals of real-life subjects.

Life and career[edit]

Rivers's 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. Rivers uses near-antique cameras and hand develops the 16mm film, which shows all the evidence of the elements it has been exposed to – the materiality of this medium forming part of the narrative.[1]

He has been the recipient of a number of commissions and awards, including London Artists Film and Video Award 2007, Vauxhall Collective Commission 2008 and Film London Artist's Moving Image Network production 2009, and was shortlisted for the Jarman Award 2010 + 2012.[2] He is recipient of the Paul Hamlyn Award for Artists 2010.,[3] the Baloise Art Prize, Art Basel 2011[4] and the inaugural Robert Gardner film award 2012.[5]

Recent shows include "Things" - solo show, Kate MacGarry Gallery, London 2014;[6] "Fable" - solo show, Temporary Gallery, Cologne 2014;[7] "Ah, Liberty!" - solo show, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin 2013;[8] "Heather and Ivan Morison, Ben Rivers and David Thorpe" - Hepworth Wakefield 2012;[9] "Slow Action" - solo show, Gallery TPW, Toronto 2011[10] and Matt’s Gallery, London 2011;[11] "A World Rattled of Habit" - solo show, A Foundation, Liverpool, 2009;[12] "Nought to Sixty" ICA, London, 2008.[13] Artist-in-focus screenings and retrospectives include Courtisane Festival;[14] Pesaro International Film Festival; London Film Festival; Tirana Film Festival; Punto de Vista[15] Pamplona; and Karlovy Vary International Film Festival[16]

Rivers's first feature length film, Two Years at Sea, was presented in September 2011 in the Orizzonti section at the 68th Venice International Film Festival and won the FIPRESCI International Critics prize.

His second feature, A Spell To Ward Off The Darkness,[17] was made in collaboration with Ben Russell and premiered at Locarno Film Festival 2013. The feature films are distributed in UK by SODA Pictures[18] and Cinema Guild[19] and KimStim[20] in North America

Rivers is represented by Kate MacGarry Gallery, London.


  • Things (2014)
  • A Spell To Ward Off The Darkness (2013)
  • Phantoms of a Libertine (2012)
  • The Creation As We Saw It (2012)
  • Two Years at Sea (2011)
  • Slow Action (2010)
  • I Know Where I'm Going (2009)
  • May Tomorrow Shine The Brightest Of All Your Many Days As It Will Be Your Last (2009)
  • A World Rattled of Habit (2008)
  • Origin of the Species (2008)
  • Sørdal (2008)
  • Ah, Liberty! (2008)
  • House (2007)
  • Dove Coup (2007)
  • Greenhouse (2007)
  • Terror! (2006)
  • The Coming Race (2006)
  • Astika (2006)
  • This Is My Land (2006)
  • The Bomb with a Man in his Shoe (2005)
  • The Hyrcynium Wood (2005)
  • We the People (2004)
  • Old Dark House (2003)


External links[edit]