Rebecca Moss (b.1991, Essex, UK) is an artist whose work engages with landscapes from a feminist perspective. Responding to specific features of sites such as architecture, civil engineering, ecology and local history, her absurdist interventions can take a wide variety of forms across performance, sculpture and video. She draws upon the approach of psychogeographic practice, where meaning is projected onto the landscape, but undermines the heroic qualities that have historically accompanied this male-dominated tradition.
She is particularly interested in how her artistic approach, informed by slapstick comedy, can speak to power through humour.
In her ongoing short video series, she stages encounters between her body and the natural world, performing to the camera with props. The works undermine transcendence and monumentality, humorously emphasizing human fallibility. They bring together the artist's internal, emotional experiences and the unpredictability of the natural world. These videos explore a reciprocal but precarious relationship between the artist's body and natural rhythms, and the wider politics of this engagement in a time of ecological instability.
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.
"It’s little surprise that the work of Rebecca Moss has frequently been spoken of in the same breath as Dada-inspired artists like Jim Moir (better known as Vic Reeves) thanks to its mixture of absurdist humour, playfulness, randomness and finely tuned wit. Her pieces are mostly in video and performance, and occasionally have been created through sheer, nigh-on-unbelievable circumstance rather than planning—like the time she intended to create a comedic floating art project but found herself stranded on a 65,000-tonne ship off the coast of Japan."
Emily Gosling, Elephant Art Magazine, 2020
"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."
Anna Smolak, Future Generation Art Prize, 2017