artist / participant

press release

First of all, there are allegedly two skulls and a pair of crossbones on the gate post of the St. Nicholas Church in Deptford. An image that Sir Francis Drake, the pirate and loyal servant of Queen Elizabeth I, displayed on the flags of his fleet. Christopher (Kit) Marlowe, playwright, poet, and translator, who was not as good a subordinate, allegedly ended his days there in 1593. The dispute about this continues to this day.

The conspiracy theories sometimes surpass the speculations about the murders of Marilyn Monroe and John Kennedy. Marlowe, who was born in the same year as William Shakespeare, after changing identity, is supposed to have been the author of the latter’s plays and so forth. If it were only so! Read the plays of both and imagine how much effort the post-perception of a master of style requires. In any case, in the Poet’s Corner at Westminster Abbey, there is a question mark after the date of Marlowe’s death.

Doubters should read Anthony Burgess’s novel, Dead Man in Deptford. And they might agree and start reading (and staging) Marlowe’s plays, of which the author during his short life wrote seven (actually six, since Tamburlaine the Great is in two parts), all of them illustrated by a fi lm like ability to enrapture the viewer. He also translated Ovid’s Elegy and was in the secret service of the Queen. Marlowe played out the topic of selling souls in the tragedy Dr. Faustus (also in Estonian). There is no escape, but for sure, at least 24 wonderful years of life. An admirer of Machiavelli and protester against Protestantism, Marlowe’s mind and spirit are still likeable, it is hard to find a contemporary equivalent for his Europeanism and universality, although it was acquired as a symbiosis of a mind constantly investigating theological studies and an untamed temperament, which, for a person interested in art, are a series of emotions that could recall the expressions of the figures in Caravaggio’s paintings or the austere misanscenes in Derek Jarman’s films. The distance of the secret service from fantasy is sad and fatal, and apparently, James Bond can do nothing to change this.

Accompanied by the commentary, “Marlowe, who is that? No one in Estonia is interested!”, the photos made for this exhibit are of contemporary Deptford, taken without knowing much about the context, based on the location. And the video, which is about the killing of Marlowe, just the killing of a person. Everything, even if pre-planned, happens somehow resolutely, steadfastly. Sometimes it seems that Oedipus knew for sure that he slept with his mother, because he wanted to since he was in the cradle. But Marlowe—what did he want—who could possibly know... Several sisters and a shoemaker father. And then, more alive than alive, and surpassing all his employers in arranging words. In the end, this can be pretty tiring, and then the Renaissance for good measure and England didn’t know what to do with it!

Liina Siib


only in german

Liina Siib: Marlowe
Tallinn City Gallery