Catherine Yass: Flood Barrier Film Screening
Flood Barrier is a new moving image commission by British artist Catherine Yass. Commissioned by Create London, it is launched to coincide with the 70th anniversary of The Great Flood of 1953, raising awareness of rising sea levels and urgent environmental changes.
2023 marks 70 years since the Great Flood of 1953, which led to widespread flooding in East England, including Margate. It is often considered the worst natural disaster Britain experienced during the 20th century. Flood Barrier is a new moving image commission by British artist Catherine Yass. Commissioned by Create London, it is launched to coincide with the 70th anniversary of The Great Flood of 1953, raising awareness of rising sea levels and urgent environmental changes.
Nominated for the Turner Prize in 2002, London-based artist Yass is widely recognised for her distinctive photographic and film-based work. Her practice disrupts notions of power through the disorientation of the camera and the distortion of colour. With Flood Barrier Yass will use this visual language to allow viewers to see the structure and its surroundings from a new perspective, showing the urgency of the environmental and political issues it embodies. The artist’s films are frequently turned upside down or filmed from unusual perspectives, often from a camera mounted on the moving objects they depict. As the image begins to unravel so too do our assumptions about how we perceive the world, and new orientations and possibilities open.
Where Yass’ past work has been concerned with how environments are constructed and experienced by their inhabitants, this new moving image work extends her practice by zooming in on the relationship between architecture and the natural world. Observing the bird paths around the barrier, Yass documents the interaction and relationship between the architecture and the birds. This involves close-up filming of birds in flight, as well as filming from a drone to imitate their perspective, tracking their flight paths in lyrical movements which contrast with the steady vertical motion of the flood barrier.
Flood Barrier by Catherine Yass was commissioned by Create London, funded by Art Fund and Arts Council England, with additional support from The Elephant Trust.
The associated engagement programme, Breaking Waves, exploring the anniversary of the Great Flood in 1953 and raising awareness of the link between climate crisis and industrial heritage is presented by Create London and was made possible with the National Heritage Lottery Fund, with additional support from Arts Council England and Art Fund.
About Catherine Yass
Born in London, England in 1963, Catherine Yass lives and works in London.
A retrospective of Yass’ vertiginous filmic oeuvre was presented at Ambika PS in 2021. In 2019 she was commissioned to make a photographic work for the Supreme Court and in 2017, RIBA held a performative screening of the artist’s film, Aeolian Piano, alongside the presentation of archival material from the BBC and the RIBA of the former’s TV Centre in West London. Solo exhibitions include Milton Keynes Gallery (2014); Alison Jacques Gallery, London (2012) a mid-career retrospective at De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea (2011); The Phillips Collections, Washington D.C. (2011); Stedelijk-Hertogenbosch Museum, The Netherlands (2009) and St Louis Art Museum, Missouri (2009).
Selected to represent Britain at the Indian Triennale at the Museum of Modern Art in Delhi in 2001, Yass was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2002 and, in 2005, she took up a British Council Residency in China. Yass has completed major commissions for The Jewish Community Centre, London (2013); Rambert Dance Company, London (2013) and Merce Cunningham, Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York (2003).
Her work can be found in a number of private and public collections including Tate, London; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; Bibliotheca Albertina, Leipzig; National Museum of Women in the Arts Collection, Washington D.C.; The Jewish Museum, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York and Queensland Art Gallery, Australia.
Create London commissions socially-engaged art, generous architecture and bold infrastructure that is woven into the fabric of everyday life. Our work is driven by a belief that transformative and radical ideas can derive from working long-term within local communities. We bring world-class cultural experiences to areas where it is least expected, providing inclusive moments for individuals to expand their imaginations, foster collective action and support thriving communities. createlondon.org