Rebecca Moss is an artist (b.1991, Essex, UK) whose work critically examines heroic narratives through slapstick and absurdist gestures. She is especially interested in how slapstick performance is intensified by a feminist perspective.
Her inspirations often come from the worlds of comedy and architecture. Her work has recently taken the form of short videos, where she constructs scenarios for the camera and performs with props in the Essex landscape. These props are usually locally sourced in fancy dress shops or made out of improvised everyday household materials. These works consider a reciprocal and precarious relationship between the artist's body and her surroundings, emphasising low-brow, bodily humour.
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, which was a 14 ton public sculptural installation commissioned by Somerset Art Works, and made in collaboration with a local concrete garden ornament factory. She commissioned a mould from a stone Baroque 18th Century statue in Bridgwater, Somerset, and used this to create an army of 41 concrete lions, which were installed at Burnham-on-Sea during the Somerset Art Weeks in 2015. This was described as a 'surreal bestial army' by the Elephant Trust who additionally supported the project.
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. This premiered during the 57th Venice Biennale, 2017.
The artist grew up, and is currently based, between Essex and London, where the Thames flows out to the North Sea. While this stigmatised, flat, marshy landscape has been described as a ‘dustbin of London’ and ‘industrial wasteland,’ it has a rich experimental history of radical politics, architecture and philosophies, and has profoundly shaped the artist's perspective.
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.’