Exhibtion, films, talks & events
Hito Steyerl, Ben Rivers, Wang Bing
Eye Art & Film Prize
24 March — 27 May 2018
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).
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.
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.
“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.”
From the 2015 Eye Art & Film Prize jury report
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.
“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.”
From the 2016 Eye Art & Film Prize jury report
Watch a video about Ben Rivers' work:
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 upheavals 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.
“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.”
From the 2017 Eye Art & Film Prize jury report
Watch a video about Wang Bing's work:
Films, talks & more
The exhibition is accompanied by a programme of films, discussions and other activities.
Take a virtual tour through the exhibition:
Eye Art & Film Prize
Find out more about the annual Eye Art & Film Prize, including all winners, jury members and advisory board.More on the Eye Art & Film Prize
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
Sanne Baar, Claartje Opdam
Joseph Plateau, Amsterdam
Coordination Eye Art & Film Prize
Hans Janssen, Indyvideo, Utrecht; Bo Jansen
Syb Sybesma, Amsterdam
Maarten Warmerdam, Theatermachine, Amsterdam
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