Ben Rivers - Winner of 2011
In his films Ben Rivers explores forgotten places and biographies. His 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 16 mm film, which shows the evidence of the elements it has been exposed to – the materiality of this medium forming part of the narrative.
In addition to the cash prize, Baloise acquires a group of works by the award winners and donates them to two important European museums. The work of Ben Rivers was presented to the collection of the Hamburger Kunsthalle.
In Sack Barrow, 2011, Rivers has filmed the final days of an electro-plating factory in London. His film distills the destiny of an obsolete industrial world in singularly poetic, impressive images. The artist has produced an eloquent portrait of a vanishing age.