Two newly commissioned moving-image installations by artists Webb-Ellis and Richard Whitby reflect on the anxieties of our recent past, our turbulent present and our uncertain future.
This is the sixth edition of the Jerwood/FVU Awards, a collaboration between Jerwood Arts and Film and Video Umbrella. The theme of Going, Gone was originally chosen to coincide with Britain’s planned departure from the European Union, but instead the exhibition comes at a time when heated debate surrounding Brexit goes on and on.
For The First Baby Born in Space is a twin-screen projection by artist duo Webb-Ellis. A despatch from the immediate present that is directly addressed to an indeterminate point in the future, it gives voice to some of the emotions and experiences of a generation of young people who have had little say in the dramatic political events unfolding around them or in the mounting ecological threats that the planet is facing.
In Richard Whitby’s video The Lost Ones, a disparate group of individuals are waiting to have their residency status assessed. Alluding to the dystopian visions of Orwell and Beckett, and the surrealist animations of Svankmajer, but adding a contemporary edge in the aftermath of the Windrush scandal and the extended dramas of Brexit, the piece has a black-comic energy that mixes acerbic, absurdist humour with moments of genuine pathos.