Marc Rees is a multi-disciplinary artist from Wales, who creates bold and exceptionally creative projects, combining visual, architectural installations, sound and theatrical performances to present spectacular works, responding to the concept of ‘Y Milltir Sgwar.’ Looking at his work makes me feel like I am in Cirque du Soleil – with larger than life performances and spectacles.
His works are recollections of the past, be it a piece of land or place that he called home in his childhood, be it a particular object that has a history, like the airplane they used as a platform for many performances, to a piece of history and his experiences from life. What he creates is a heady mix of reality and imagination showcased with great pomp and show, collaborating with various artists, performers and community. His works are multi layered not only in their final show but their seed of creation also lies in multi-layered history of a particular place, containing both fact and fiction. The final outcome leaves one spellbound and in awe, as the audience is engrossed in an experience that might be labelled as bold, shocking, challenging or all of them combined, but definitely unforgettable.
His projects like Now the hero immersive theatrical event was a spectacular immersive performance that combined three narratives of war – Celtic war, the first world war and todays’s conflicts, inspired by and ancient poem. a portrait of a Swansea soldier and the floral panels by Sir Frank Brangwyn – it was a unique and multi-sensory experience lasting two and half hours that started from the Swansea beachside and ended inside the halls of Brangwyn. Simply put, it was epic, evocative and brilliant, with a message of peace and hope.
He founded R.I.P.E (Rees International Projects Enterprise) in 1998 for showcasing individual and collaborative projects exploring issues related to individual, social and sexual identities from his youth in a rural backdrop and setting them in the contemporary time of today, recreating spaces derived from his childhood years in modern architectural spaces. His projects like Shed Light, RevolUN, Shed*Light are some great examples of his brilliant work, combining installations, impressions, sound, performances, derived from memories and fiction and resulting in larger than life end results.
What is most striking about Rees’s work is that the audience is spellbound the minute they are immersed in that space. Not quite knowing what to expect, the sound element itself caught me by surprise and added an element of mystery and surprise to what was ahead. The fact that all else is forgotten when one is watching or rather experiencing Rees’s performances and created spaces is that it transports you to a mystical and magical land, where one forgets the boundaries of what is real and what is fantasy, yet the message that he conveys through his performances are very much relevant to today’s time.
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Rob Siltanen(Siltanen, 1997)
Key points and learnings from Rees’s works-
- Larger than life
- Fusion of more than one medium
- Fusion of fact, fiction and fantasy
- Shock Value
- Rural & Urban mix
- Multi- sensory
Fig 1 Rees, M. (2018) Now the hero/Nawr Yr Arwr. [Photograph] At: https://marcrees.com/projects/now-the-hero/ (Accessed 17/04/2020).
Arts.wales. (2020) Individual Artist – Marc Rees | Arts Council Of Wales. At: https://arts.wales/case-studies/individual-artist-marc-rees (Accessed 16/04/2020).
“Marc Rees.” National Theatre Wales, At: http://www.nationaltheatrewales.org/cy/people/marc-rees/ (Accessed 16/04/2020).
Rees, M. (2018) Projects: Now The Hero. At: https://marcrees.com/projects/now-the-hero/ (Accessed 16/04/2020).
R-i-p-e.co.uk. (2020) At: http://r-i-p-e.co.uk/ (Accessed 16/04/2020).
Now The Hero (2020) Now The Hero | An Immersive Theatrical Experience In Swansea. At: https://www.nowthehero.wales/process (Accessed 16/04/2020).