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Image of Wine & Spirits by Rachel Reupke

Jarman Award Shortlist Artist Profile: Rachel Reupke

Date posted: 22.09.2014

This year's Jarman Award tour launches this week at FACT, Liverpool with special guest Rachel Reupke, before touring to venues nationwide through to December when this year's winner will be announced. The screening includes work by all the shortlisted artists, and is followed by a Q&A session with Reupke.

In the second of our weekly series of profiles of the ten-strong shortlist for the 2014 Jarman Award, we talk to Reupke about the influence of Jarman's work on her practice, her own route into filmmaking and her recent projects.

About the Artist

London-based artist Rachel Reupke makes stylised and often awkward videos about everyday activities such as drinking, dating and domestic arrangements. The concept of worry is central to her work, as are problems of communication. 'Over the last few years my films have been about social behaviour and the difficulties of communication from one person to another', she explains.

Reupke's work has shown widely through exhibitions and film festivals, with recent shows and screenings including Art Post-Internet at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing; Some Gag Pieces at Museum of Modern Art, Vienna; Assembly: A Survey of Recent Artists' Film and Video in Britain 2008-2013 at Tate Britain and Getting In at South London Gallery.

Wine & Spirits

Reupke's latest work, Wine & Spirits (2013), is a silent single-screen film about alcohol and romance, and the rituals that link the two. It was commissioned through FLAMIN Productions and screens as part of the Jarman Award touring programme.

As in previous works, Wine & Spirits draws heavily on the Reupke's interest in the visual language of commercial advertising. It takes cues from what Reupke describes as the 'ridiculous over simplification of things' found in advertising, which appeals in the way it often uses 'social situations as the context' and through which lifestyles are sold and social relations objectified.

Rachel Reupke, Wine & Spirits, 2013. Courtesy of the artist.

Premiered at last year's Oberhausen Film Festival and subsequently shown at Cell Project Space in London, Wine & Spirits presents a carefully choreographed hybrid of real life observation and advertising imagery. A man and a woman meet for a drink in a series of scenes in which physical gesture and verbal disjuncture are emphasised by the absence of sound.

Why moving image?

Reupke initially arrived at moving image through stills photography, which she began experimenting with as a way of referencing paintings she was making while still at art school. As she points out, the legacy of this formative interest in stills photography is evident in the meticulous framing and gentle pacing found in the films for which she is best known.

Jarman's Influence

'Growing up in the eighties, Jarman was very much a part of the material we were looking at as teenagers.... In the same way we would be into indie music, someone would be into Derek Jarman', recalls Reupke.

Reupke also cites the influence of working professionally in graphic design and music video production on her particular approach to filmmaking, a crossover which chimes with Jarman's own multi-facetted practice which incorporated the production of music videos for bands including The Smiths, The Pet Shop Boys and The Sex Pistols.

Hear from Rachel Reupke

The Jarman Award Touring Programme launches on Tuesday 23 Spetmber with a free event at FACT in Liverpool, presenting a two-part programme of films by each of the artists alongside a Q&A with Rachel Reupke. Tour events will take place across the UK through to December, with many of the shortlisted artists contributing through accompanying Q&As. 

Reupke is working on a new film based on research into complaint letters, which will be screened at Cubbitt Gallery in January 2015. Her work will also feature as part of BFI Southbank's forthcoming Sci-Fi season, 'Days of Fear and Wonder', on 29 October.

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