Mark Leckey, winner of the Turner Prize 2008, works mainly in collage, sculpture, video and sound. His most recent exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery, SEE, WE ASSEMBLE, brings together all of these mediums in an amalgamation of strange but fresh installations.
A projection reflected off a metal construction in the first room introduces the show. This video, to Leckey, is a “trailer” for the exhibition and is accompanied by three posters, each alluding to one of the three other rooms. This first room is significant in that it is revealing of Leckey’s approach to contemporary art: he wittily presents his work to us in a manner more familiar to other art forms such as theatre or film.
Alien Clubbers and Daydreaming Appliances
The first of these rooms features a spot-lit tower of speakers and a video: Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore, featuring found footage of underground clubs from the 70s, 80s and 90s. The music fragmented; morphing and decaying into different times and places and the images of dancers possessed by sound are haunting and disconcerting, yet addictive to watch. The people featured seem to become inhuman, introvert and alien, controlled by the ecstasy of sound.
The second room holds a Henry Moore statue facing a stack of speakers, which play occasional noise through a record player. The two objects seem to converse, the speakers communicating or affecting the statue, altering the space around it. There is something human about the stack of speakers. When walking close to it, there is a sense of fear: fear of the noise the speakers produce and its potential to suddenly increase in volume. But everything remains gentle and quiet.
…the metaphysical thoughts of the fridge…
In the final room a Samsung fridge sits against a green screen. A film of the fridge appears on two TV monitors with visuals behind where the green screens are. Leckey here takes us to a digital world beyond the gallery space; we are seeing what is not actually there: one moment mountainous scenery, the next footage from a Samsung advert. This is, according to Leckey, the metaphysical thoughts of the fridge superimposed onto the physical green background. The fridge becomes humanised allowing us to perhaps journey with it into the unreal or imagined.
The unpredictability and instability of machine and sound are revealed and harnessed by Leckey in SEE, WE ASSEMBLE. Though a gentle and exploratory mid-range volume is maintained throughout, one cannot fail to realise the potentially destructive and powerful qualities sound and machine have, suggested subtly by Leckey’s use of scale, lighting and positioning.
The exhibition continues until 26 June.
Admission is free.