Camden Arts Centre celebrates works of Rosie Wylie in Earth Needs More Magicians

PUBLISHED: 17:03 22 November 2015

Ben Rivers at Camden Arts Centre

Ben Rivers at Camden Arts Centre


Take a tour of the city limits and the South Pacific islands in Ben Rivers’ unique exhibition, says Alison Oldham.

The painter Rose Wylie has long intrigued me. She was born in Kent in 1934 and still lives and works there. Her zany, eclectic paintings pay homage to Ancient Egyptian and Roman paintings, contemporary animation and, autobiographically, they scan experiences from early childhood.

So I had looked forward to seeing a film about her by Ben Rivers which is being shown as part of his exhibition Earth Needs More Magicians at Camden Arts Centre.

What Means Something (2015) is promoted as “reflecting a meeting of the two artists and the mingling of their creative processes”.

For someone as hard of hearing as I am, without subtitles it meant all too little.

To their credit, CAC do subtitle the short films on their website about exhibitions. There is an excellent one with Rivers talking about his work, including another film he made this year, There Is A Happy Land Further Away. It captures the volcanic landscapes of the South Pacific islands of Vanuatu before they were devastated by Cyclone Pam, irrevocably altering the ecosystem.

Rivers has also curated an exhibition at CAC, Edgelands, of works that inspired his interest in the neglected peripheries of cities where individuals withdraw from mainstream culture. His selection includes J.G. Ballard’s novel Concrete Island and Max Ernst’s abstracted urban landscape La ville pétrifiée, 1933, which Rivers describes as ominous and the central piece of the show.

Camden Arts Centre, Arkwright Road NW3. Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 6pm, Wednesday until 9pm. Exhibitions Organiser Sophie Williamson leads a tour at 3pm on the final day, next Sunday, November 29. 020 7472 5500 /

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