Tovey collaborates with WePresent, the arts platform of WeTransfer, on a series of commissions that spotlight the works of LGBTQIA+ artists, including the Oscar-winning platform’s first feature-length documentary
AMSTERDAM - 7 March, 2023 - WePresent, the arts platform of WeTransfer, reveals its newest guest curatorship with Russell Tovey, the British actor, author, curator and co-host of the popular art podcast TalkArt. Tovey is WePresent’s third guest curator, following successful year-long collaborations with artists Marina Abramović and Solange Knowles
Through this partnership, Tovey and WePresent aim to bring attention to the original works while examining their resonance today. Together, they will bring these stories to new audiences worldwide through a multimedia and cross-disciplinary approach that connects art, film and theater performance with new media and interactive design.
Tovey is a life-long art enthusiast, collaborated with WePresent on three projects releasing this summer, each sharing culturally significant narratives from the LGBTQIA+ community, as told through art. Throughout the curatorship, particular focus is placed on the works of Derek Jarman and David Robilliard - both trailblazing British queer artists who died of AIDS, and of whom Tovey considers himself a student.
Russell Tovey, “WeTransfer quite simply makes dreams a reality. Since our collaboration began, WeTransfer is allowing me to fully realize projects that have been bouncing around in my head for ages. With detail, care and a very unique nurturing approach to every project, I am able to tell stories about artists who mean so much to me, in the hope that they can matter to everyone. The platform reaches millions internationally every day, so it’s an incredible privilege to be sharing my deepest passions through WeTransfer with new audiences around the world.”
Holly Fraser, editor-in-chief of WePresent, “Having Russell Tovey as WeTransfer’s next guest curator has felt like a very natural fit. He is an artist and curator who champions representation in everything that he does, and is determined to shine a spotlight on those that deserve recognition for their significant contributions to art, some of whom have not received the acclaim they perhaps should have. He shares WeTransfer’s belief that the power of creativity can truly change the world, and I hope that through this curatorship on WePresent and the projects that form it we can further the conversation around the importance of inclusivity and reflect on some of the great artists who have paved the way for this to continue in the industry.”
The guest curatorship marks an opportunity for the platform to hand over the reins to today’s leading visionaries to champion their favorite emerging or overlooked talents. These curatorships are an embodiment of WeTransfer’s ongoing support of the arts. Since its founding in 2009, WeTransfer has donated up to 30% of its advertising space to support artists and social causes. In 2021, WeTransfer launched The Supporting Act Foundation, committing 1% of revenue each year to support the next generation of creatives.
WePresent commissions its first feature-length documentary titled “Life Is Excellent,” which follows Tovey as he explores the life and work of one of his greatest art heroes, the artist David Robilliard, who died aged 36 of AIDS in 1988. Although they had never met, Tovey considers Robilliard a formative, omnipresent figure in his life - a source of strength, companionship, and constant inspiration. On this highly personal journey, Tovey pieces together his idol through those who knew him most intimately and, in the process, helps paint a new vision of Robilliard for a global audience to meet. The official trailer for “Life Is Excellent” is unveiled today, with the full documentary planned for release this summer.
WeTransfer will present a series of four live performances entitled “BLUE NOW,” a tribute to the artwork “Blue” by the British artist and filmmaker Derek Jarman. The 1993 film features an unchanging screen of Yves Klein blue accompanied by voices which deliver a collage of fragments from Jarman’s diary, a visualization of the gradual onset of blindness as he battles with HIV. “Blue” was Jarman’s final feature film, completed only months before his death of AIDS-related complications.
On the 30th anniversary of its completion, Neil Bartlett will direct a live version of this seminal film entitled “BLUE NOW,” performed by Tovey alongside Travis Alabanza, Jay Bernard and Joelle Taylor. The performances will happen across the UK in May at leading art institutions: Tate Modern in London, HOME in Manchester, Brighton’s Theatre Royal as part of Brighton Festival, Turner Contemporary in Margate. BLUE NOW is presented by WeTransfer in association with Fuel and Basilisk Communications.
To accompany this, WeTransfer has commissioned a digital iteration of “BLUE NOW” to appear on its arts platform WePresent. This version will not copy the original “Blue,” but instead pay tribute to the original artwork and its creator Derek Jarman through the words and voices of contemporary LGBTQIA+ artists as part of an online interactive experience.
Tovey will select a range of artists he admires to feature in bespoke WePresent feature content. Each artist will be given real estate to showcase their work on WeTransfer.com to its 80 million monthly active users in 190 countries and on WeTransfer social channels.
To date, WePresent has worked with over 1000 artists from more than 100 countries. The platform continues to bolster its presence in the arts through film, documentary and broader entertainment, winning an Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film in 2022 as commissioners and Executive Producers of the acclaimed short film “The Long Goodbye,” by British actor and musician Riz Ahmed and director Aneil Karia.
Russell Tovey is an award-winning British actor with an extensive background in film, television and theater. He is also a passionate art collector and co-hosts art podcast, “Talk Art”, with friend and gallerist Robert Diament, in which they interview leading artists, curators, gallerists, and celebrities. Their first book “Talk Art: Everything You Wanted To Ask About Contemporary Art But Were Afraid To Ask” has been listed as one of The Sunday Times’s Top Ten Bestsellers, and their second book will be released soon. In 2023, Russell was announced as the WePresent Guest Curator, working with them on two film projects about Derek Jarman and David Robilliard, respectively.
WePresent is WeTransfer’s arts platform, acting as the company’s cultural torchbearer to a monthly audience of approximately 3 million in 190 countries. Collaborating with emerging young talent to renowned artists such as Marina Abramović, Riz Ahmed, FKA twigs or David Sedaris, WePresent showcases the best in art, photography, film, music, literature and more, championing diversity in everything it does. The platform’s commissions range from editorial features to films, illustrations, photography series, events, and exhibitions, with an aim to offer a fresh take on the magic and mystery of creative ideas. WePresent were the commissioners and Executive Producers of the acclaimed short film “The Long Goodbye” by actor and musician Riz Ahmed and director Aneil Karia, which won an Oscar in 2022 for Best Live Action Short Film.
WeTransfer streamlines the workflow process for millions of creative professionals. Its ecosystem of creative productivity tools makes it easy to collaborate, share and deliver work. WeTransfer has more than 80 million monthly active users in 190 countries. As a certified B Corporation™, WeTransfer has long been a champion of using business as a force for good. Since its founding in 2009, WeTransfer has donated up to 30% of its advertising space to support artists and social causes. Last year, WeTransfer also launched its Supporting Act Foundation to support emerging creative talent through arts education, grants, and an annual prize.