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Ben Rivers Awarded 2nd EYE Art and Film Prize

Amsterdam’s EYE Filmmuseum has awarded artist and experimental filmmaker Ben Rivers the second EYE Art and Film prize. The award supports the creation of new work with its monetary dotage of $35,000. Created in 2015 by the EYE museum and the Paddy and Joan Leigh Fermor Arts Fund, the first edition of the award honored artist Hito Steyerl.

Rivers—whose films often toe the line between documentary and fiction—originally studied sculpture and graphic art at the Falmouth School of Art. His interest in film originated from a film club he cofounded called Brighton Cinematheque. “The intention of that space was to show every kind of moving image available,” Rivers told artforum.com’s Lauren Cavalli. “There wasn’t any hierarchy between the forms of film and video.”

Rivers spoke of how the award reflects a moment when galleries’ approaches to film is evolving. “Cinema distribution has become increasingly conservative, and the smaller cinemas that show the unusual fare are closing down, or getting harder to run. So, people who are into the less conventional cinema have to find it elsewhere. Artists and galleries are responding to that.”

Although based in London, Rivers prefers to work on location rather than in a studio. For his current show “The Two Eyes Are Not Brothers” at the University of Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery, he has filled the room with materials found from old film sets in Morocco. “These spaces double as sculptural objects, but once inside they become the viewing space—the cinema.”

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