Ben Rivers
6 September – 2 November 2014


Travellers are strange beings to go to great distances, and at great expense, to see new things, without having taken the trouble to look at their feet or over their heads, where as many extraordinary and unknown things are passing as they can possibly desire to know. (Alphonse Karr, A Tour Round My Garden / Voyage autour de mon jardin, 1845).

For the exhibition “Fable“ and the project "Stay Where You Are" (flu, London) Ben Rivers produced his new 16mm-film travelogue “Things“, in which he leads in four chapters through the four seasons without ever once having set foot across his doorstep. Instead, he explores for the duration of exact one year the things within his own four walls. He discovers unknown things, watches through the window what happens outside, and with his impressions and findings he sets off on a journey into his own imagination and into collective memory. Parallel, “Slow Action“, a post-apocalyptic science-fiction film from 2011, takes the viewer to four of the most remote places on earth, hermetically sealed by water-islands located at the end of the world or beyond. Fascinated by the spirit of discovery, experimentation and research, this impressive 16mm film in cinemascope format ranks amongst documentation, fiction and ethnographic study. Rivers interest in fantastic literature, science fiction and travel reports that had their start in the late 18th century is reflected in the filmic interleaving of real and fictional spaces of perception.

Curator: Regina Barunke
Co-production: FVU Film and Video Umbrella, London


6 September 2014
Regina Barunke and Ben Rivers: Fable
Fables of the Visible: João Maria Gusmão & Pedro Paiva

18 September 2014
Fables of the Visible (At Dawn): Jaki Irvine, Bea McMahon, Artavazd Peleshian, Georges Rey, Margaret Salmon

29 September 2014
Regina Barunke and Steven Bode: Ben Rivers. The Way of Things

2 October 2014
Fables of the Visible (At Noon): Paul Bush, Joseph Cornell, Serge Gregory

16 October 2014
Fables of the Visible (At Dusk): Nancy Graves, George Kuchar, Rebecca Meyers, Ben Rivers

30 October 2014
Fables of the Visible (At Night): Pola Chapelle, Kenneth Macpherson, Jean Painlevé, Jim Trainor, Joyce Wieland



Funding and Support

Stiftung Kunstfonds
British Council
Kulturamt der Stadt Köln
RheinEnergie Stiftung Kultur
Deltax contemporary, Wirtschafts- und Steuerberatungsgesellschaft mbH
Hotel Chelsea


1 — Ben Rivers: Things, 2014
2 — exhibition view
3 — Ben Rivers: Bedroom, 2014
4 — Ben Rivers: Fable II, 2014
5 — Ben Rivers: Slow Action, 2010
Photo: Simon Vogel