In his most ambitious work to date Rivers reinterprets tales of Morocco.
Following its original installation at the Television Centre in White City last year, Ben Rivers brings The Two Eyes Are Not Brothers to the entirely different setting of the Whitworth. This co-commission with ArtAngel features five video pieces shot against the dramatic Moroccan landscape in a re-telling of Paul Bowles’ A Distant Episode, a brutal story concerning the journey of a naive language professor intent on discovering new dialects, but is instead set on a path to an unsettling and horrifying demise.
Rivers mixes documentary and fantasy filmed on hand-processed 16mm cinemascope. Some scenes are pictured in dramatic relief in black and white, while others feature candid recordings of locals telling jokes and playing homemade musical instruments. Each work is presented in a purpose-built screening space constructed from pieces of disused Moroccan movie sets. The result is a shadowy labyrinth of old timbers and wallpaper strips that heighten the dark and mysterious world created by the artist.