Rebecca Moss (b.1991, Essex, UK) is an artist whose work critically examines heroic narratives through slapstick and absurdist gestures, which can take a wide variety of forms. The artworks speculate upon ecological instability, humanity's relationship to the natural world and how a feminist perspective could radically transform our position on the planet. She is also interested in how slapstick gestures can speak to power through humour.
Her work has recently taken the form of short videos, where she stages philosophical and poetic encounters with the natural world. She constructs scenarios for the camera and performs with props in the Essex landscape. These props are locally sourced in fancy dress shops and improvised everyday household objects. The works bring together the artist's internal, emotional experiences and the wildness and unpredictability of the natural world. Her ideas are often reached by going for long walks in the landscape, triggering memories and sensations in her body. These works explore a reciprocal but precarious relationship between the artist's body and natural rhythms, and the wider politics of this engagement.
In 2016, Moss undertook a residency with Access Gallery in Vancouver called "23 Days at Sea," where the initial plan was to travel by container ship across the Pacific ocean, eventually disembarking in Shanghai. However, ten days into the residency, Hanjin Shipping went bankrupt, leaving the artist, Captain and crew stuck at sea, on a ship that was unable to pay to get into any docks. They anchored in international waters 12km from the coast of Tokyo and waited for over two weeks for further instruction. The artist subsequently created the video work 'International Waters' which was comprised of her footage collected during her time spent stuck at anchor.
The artist has also undertaken large-scale sculptural projects, which emphasise a sense of the ridiculous and anti-monumentality in their scale. This includes her 'Lions' project - an alternative flood defence consisting of 41 Baroque concrete lions, made with a concrete garden ornament factory in Somerset. This was commissioned by Somerset Art Works and additionally supported by The Elephant Trust, who described it as a 'surreal bestial army.'
Writing for the Future Generation Art Prize, 2017, the curator Anna Smolak described: ‘Rebecca Moss is interested in moments of disruption, chaos and failure (…) Seemingly haphazard and unprocessed – but in fact deliberately executed – her gestures subversively set the ridiculous and banal against the monumental and sublime.’