Attention: this exhibition has ended. View the current exhibition Francis Alÿs

Hito Steyerl, Ben Rivers, Wang Bing

EYE Art & Film Prize
Exhibition
24 March through 27 May 2018

The intersection between film and visual art is an important focus of exhibition policy at EYE. To underline this, EYE and the Paddy and Joan Leigh Fermor Arts Fund launched an annual prize in 2015 to promote new work by an artist / filmmaker who is making an important contribution to this interdisciplinary field. Highlighting this EYE Art & Film Prize, the exhibition featured work by the first three winners, all of whom share a socially engaged approach to their art. They are Hito Steyerl (1966, Germany), Ben Rivers (1972, Great-Britain) and Wang Bing (1967, China).

Hito Steyerl (EYE Art & Film Prize 2015)

Hito Steyerl (b. 1966, Germany) is one of the leading video artists of today. ArtReview recently ranked her as the most influential person in contemporary art in its authoritative ‘ArtReview Power 100 List’. In her penetrating and often humorous work, Berlin-based Steyerl effortlessly transcends the boundaries between film and visual art. She also studies the role of the media in an era of globalization, and the staggeringly rapid dissemination of images and knowledge made possible by digital technology, a process she refers to in one of her essays as ‘circulationism’. She contends that most images are no longer simply a representation of reality, but actually intervene in reality. Moreover, in her work she defies the mechanisms of the art world, to whom she likes to hold up a mirror.

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The jury's report states:

Steyerl is one of those filmmakers who observes our thoroughly globalized and digitalized world with remarkable perceptiveness. Her work is a pioneering exploration of the language of the new digital era. She investigates, probes, and makes that language the very subject of discussion. She questions the impact of the internet and digitalization on everyday life. By making use of a whole host of audio-visual techniques, Steyerl is an essayistic filmmaker and artist par excellence.

  • Hito Steyerl, Factory of the Sun, installation photo Venice Biennale (2015), photo Manuel Reinartz

  • Hito Steyerl, Factory of the Sun, installation photo Venice Biennale (2015), photo Manuel Reinartz

Ben Rivers (EYE Art & Film Prize 2016)

The work of Ben Rivers (b. 1972) explores the interface between documentary and fiction. Using raw film material that he often shoots on celluloid, he crafts subtle stories about people who do not live life in the mainstream. He is also interested in communities that, largely owing to their isolated location, have developed in their own particular way. In both cases he finds traces of a utopian world. Rivers is building up a significant body of work that makes an exceptional contribution to developments at the intersection of visual art and film.

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The jury's report states:

Ben Rivers is one of the powerful new voices of his generation, someone for whom the line that divides cinema from other arts is completely irrelevant. His visually stunning work demonstrates his commitment to society. With his poetic eye, Ben Rivers reveals himself to be a refined and empathetic observer of life and nature.

  • Ben Rivers, installation photo Camden Arts Centre, London (2015), photo Valerie Bennett

  • Ben Rivers, installation photo Camden Arts Centre, London (2015), photo Valerie Bennett

Wang Bing (EYE Art & Film Prize 2017)

Wang Bing (b. 1967, China) has amassed a significant body of work that ranges in scope from documentary and feature film to video installation. As a filmmaker and visual artist, Wang Bing focuses in his socially engaged work on the changes taking place in Chinese society. With a long running time, Wang’s monumental films are often composed of strikingly long takes. A 15-hour film is no exception for Wang. His work calls into question the official historiography of contemporary China by showing the effects of the major upheavels on Chinese citizens. One film, for example, is a 15-hour take of workers in a garment factory. Wang works almost entirely independently, using a digital camera, natural light and ambient noise.

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The jury's report states:

Wang Bing is a genuine and authentic artist whose uncompromising way of working demonstrates his concern for contemporary society and his vision of the human condition. His skilfully composed work reveals a profound knowledge of the visual language and possesses a strong presence, both in the cinema and in art. Although he expresses an explicitly political viewpoint, Wang Bing does not force his audience to embrace his views. His wonderful and courageous work offers space for ambiguity.

  • Wang Bing, 15 Hours (2017)

  • Wang Bing, installation photo Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris (2009)

EYE Art & Film Prize Jury, 2015 - 2017

  • Sandra den Hamer, chairwoman (Netherlands) - director EYE 

  • Chantal Akerman (Belgium) - director/artist (1950 - 2015)

  • Stuart Comer (US) - chief curator of media and performance art, MoMA, New York

  • Isaac Julien (GB) - artist/director

  • Martijn Sanders (Netherlands) - cultural entrepreneur, advisor and art collector 

  • Olivia Stewart (GB/Italy) - curator PJLF Arts Fund/producer/scriptwriter

  • Béla Tarr (Hungary) - director

  • Andrea Lissoni (Italy/GB) - curator of film and international art, Tate Modern, jury member from 2017

Advisory board, 2015 - 2017

  • Jaap Guldemond, head of advisory board (Netherlands) - director of exhibitions at EYE /curator 

  • Solange Farkas (Brazil) - director and curator of Associação Cultural Videobrasil

  • Gyula Gazdag (Hungary/US) - filmmaker/artistic director of Sundance Filmmakers Lab 

  • Marc Glöde (Germany) - film historian/critic 

  • Sunjung Kim (South Korea) - curator and professor at Korea National University of Arts 

  • Andrea Lissoni (Italy/GB) - curator of film and international art, Tate Modern (2015-2016)

Attention: this exhibition was on display from 24 March through 27 May 2018.

Francis Alÿs

read all about our current exhibition Francis Alÿs

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credits

The EYE Art & Film Prize is supported by the Paddy and Joan Leigh Fermor Arts Fund in England.

The exhibition was curated by Jaap Guldemond in collaboration with Marente Bloemheuvel.

  • Director of exhibitions / Curator: Jaap Guldemond  
  • Associate curator: Marente Bloemheuvel
  • Project managers: Sanne Baar, Claartje Opdam
  • Graphic design: Joseph Plateau, Amsterdam
  • Coördinatie / Coordination EYE Art & Film Prize: Daan Gielis
  • Technical production: Hans Janssen, Indyvideo, Utrecht, Bo Jansen
  • Installation: Syb Sybesma, Amsterdam
  • Lighting: Maarten Warmerdam, Theatermachine, Amsterdam

Full programme

From A to Z

Attention: this exhibition has ended. View the current exhibition Francis Alÿs