Edgelands - Camden Art Centre

Curated by Ben Rivers, this group show examined the overlooked fringes of the urban landscape.

Based on the concept of ‘edgelands’, the exhibition draws together a selection of works that have inspired Rivers’ interest in these borders of society, both physical spaces – the neglected peripheries of the city – and abstractly, where individuals have withdrawn from mainstream culture.

Self-taught Ralph Eugene Meatyard’s photographs of the American mid-west outback sit alongside La Ville Petrifée by Max Ernst (1933), Catherine Opie’s photographic Freeway series (1994), Robert Smithson’s Tour of Monuments of the Passaic (1967), J G Ballard’s Concrete Island (1974), and others. Together they consider how social distance surfaces in architecture and landscape, the creative potential of overlooked spaces and beauty in the deserted or disregarded.

Artists included: Keith Arnatt, J.G. Ballard, Jeremy Butler, Prunella Clough, Max Ernst, Helen Levitt, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Stuart Middleton, Catherine Opie and Robert Smithson.

Images Events

Teachers’ Exhibition Tour

Wednesday 30 September, 6.00 – 7.00pm / free 

A chance to discuss the exhibition and the new Teachers’ Guide with the programming team.

Introductory Talk: Ben Rivers

Friday 25 September, 5.45 – 6.30pm / free

Ben Rivers discusses his exhibition with Erika Balsom, Lecturer in Film Studies and Liberal Arts at King’s College, London.

Films Selected by Ben Rivers

Part 1: Edgelands
Wednesday 21 October, 7.00 – 9.00pm
Venue: Camden Arts Centre, Arkwright Road, London, NW3 6DG

Camden Arts Centre and LUX present a three-part screening programme which expands on Ben Rivers’ exhibition Earth Needs More Magicians and his artist-curated exhibition Edgelands.

The first part of this series takes Edgelands as its starting point, looking at Rivers’ interest in the borders of society, both physical spaces – neglected peripheries of the city and abstractly, where individuals have withdrawn from mainstream culture.

Curated by Ben Rivers with an introduction by George Clark, Assistant Curator of Film at TATE

Jaunt, Andrew Kotting, 1995 (6mins)
Rehearsals for Retirement, Phil Solomon, 2007 (10mins)
Little Stabs of Happiness, Ken Jacobs, 1963 (15mins)
In the Street, Helen Levitt, 1948 (16mins)
Fire Child, Gordon Matta-Clark, 1971 (10mins)
Swamp, Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt, 1971 (6mins)
The Coming Race, Ben Rivers, 2006 (5mins)

Talk: Ken Worpole: modern nature - landscape & aesthetics on the edge

Wednesday 4 November, 7:00 – 8.00pm 

Writer Ken Worpole looks at Ben Rivers’ work and his curated exhibition Edgelands as a starting place to consider experiments in living, life and new kinds of hope on the margins. In collaboration with photographer Jason Orton, Worpole has published two books on the aesthetics of the contemporary post-industrial landscape: 350 Miles (2005) and The New English Landscape (2014). In this talk, Worpole addresses the ways in which writers and photographers can work together in providing a more reflective, counter-intuitive approach to problematic topographies and social histories.

‘For many years, Ken Worpole has been one of the shrewdest and sharpest observers of the English social landscape.’ – The Independent

Ken Worpole is the author of many books on architecture, landscape and public policy. Ken is Emeritus Professor, Cities Institute London Metropolitan University, and has served on the UK government’s Urban Green Spaces Task Force, on the Expert Panel of the Heritage Lottery Fund, and as an adviser to the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment.

Book Launch

Wednesday 14 December, 7.00 – 8.45pm

To launch his first monograph Ways of Worldmaking, artist Ben Rivers and design and art collective åbäke discuss the book with Sophie Williamson, Programme Curator: Exhibitions at Camden Arts Centre. This book has been made in conjunction with Rivers’ recent exhibition at Camden Arts Centre, Earth Needs More Magicians with new essays by writers Ed Halter, Melissa Gronland, Renee Gladman and Andréa Picard, alongside transcripts and research material. This talk will be followed by a book signing.

This book has been designed by åbäke and published by Mousse Publishing in collaboration with Camden Arts Centre, Kunstverein in Hamburg, The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago and La Triennale di Milano.