Mark Redpere - interview

Empire of the son


Estonian fashion photographer and artist Mark Redpere speaks to Alexander Kennedy about his new exhibition of video art in Glasgow’s Tramway.

Alexander Kennedy Can you describe some of the work that will be on show and some of the main themes?

Mark Redpere The two videos that I’m showing involve my parents and myself. They are executed during the half year preceding the last Venice Biennale, 2005. ‘Shifting Focus’ was made at a moment of extreme self-doubt - right after the selection committee had decided that I should be the one to represent Estonia in Venice, the very first time there was only one artist from Estonia in the show. So the piece is sort of confessional. But I was more concerned with the techniques of opening up the work, the sense of timing in the piece and the mechanisms of recording, editing and presenting the tensions. My mother, who also appears in the work, was not informed beforehand about what we would be discussing, so her reactions are totally spontaneous.

‘Voiceover’ is basically my father’s monologue about his feelings, visions and delusions (about the voices he hears) and my concern about that. When I asked him about this previously, at a very quiet moment he unexpectedly started to cry, leaving me totally shocked. So in this piece I ask him about that experience. When my father finally reached that point again in his story, history sort of repeated itself.

AK Did you make or change aspects of the work with the Tramway space in mind?

MR No, the works were chosen by Lorraine Wilson from the ones she had previously seen. Ideally I prefer slightly smaller spaces than the Project Room (which is in fact a marvellous space) for these works.

AK Do you see a relationship between your previous job as fashion photographer and your role now, as an artist? How do these roles relate?

MR I’m much more interested in challenging myself in video these days when I work in galleries, but I continue working as a photographer for many Estonian magazines. Working in two fields gives me space to gather my thoughts in between active work in either of them.

Mark Raidpere: Shifting Focus, Project Room, Tramway, Glasgow, until Sun 19 Nov.


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