Edited by Patrizia Dander and Elena Filipovic con t en t s
– m a rk leck ey – On Pleasure Bent
Script for Prp4AShw – Mark Leckey
The Real Embodiment of Ersatz Things – Elena Filipovic
OdooDem – Mark Leckey
Script for GreenScreenRefrigeratorAction – Mark Leckey
A Desire for Things – Patrizia Dander
Script for Concrete Vache – Mark Leckey & Martin McGeown
Script for In the Long Tail – Mark Leckey
Script for Cinema-in-the-Round – Mark Leckey
Mark Leckey, Pleasure Model (After Pietz) – John Cussans
Lyrics for March of the Big White Barbarians – Mark Leckey
Aspiring to the Condition of Cheap Music Interview with Mark Leckey – Dan Fox
Everybody’s Autobiography – Alex Kitnick
List of Works
Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Köln 3
Mark Leckey remains best known in many circles for his 1999 video Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore (pp. 230 –235), fifteen minutes of found footage that depicts ecstatic young people twisting and turning in a variety of locations ranging from tiny dance studios to massive dance halls. Leckey spent years hunting down the footage to make Fiorucci (much of the time was spent waiting for things to arrive by mail), and, in many ways, the video itself is about time, and about time passing; as if to remind us of this fact, the time stamp on the original source videos occasionally pops up at the bottom of the screen. Fiorucci is a chronicle of 1970s northern soul dance parties that Leckey just missed growing up. In other words, it is a compilation of days gone by, of things just out of reach, and when we watch it today we cannot help but wonder about – and perhaps feel a tinge of nostalgia for – what looks like a magnificent moment far, far away. Although not as well known as Fiorucci, Leckey made another archival project the same year called The Casuals, which was published in the New York literary journal Open City. A portfolio of eight black-and-white images, one printed per page, The Casuals is a bit droller than Fiorucci, though it similarly focuses on issues of fashion and subculture and young people and brand names. And, like Fiorucci, it, too, is a kind of rescue effort, trying to salvage an image of a way of life before it slips (slipped?) into oblivion (first thought: at this point in his career, Leckey is an archivist of the images and footage of his youth). “These are some images from the history of the casuals,” Leckey writes in the brief introductory text. “There are not many images available.” 1 The first picture is a pencil drawing of a terrifying trio of boys. The one in front wears a Lacoste shirt tight over his muscles. He has a huge bulge in his jeans. He is screaming. But two pages later there is something sweeter: a lanky digitized portrait of a teenage Leckey standing in a jumper, his hair flipped to the side (see p. 210). Apparently, there were different ways of being a casual, but the different ways in which the images are rendered seems just as significant as the shift in sartorial style. The pencil and the pixel. These images carry their temporality forward in their very format. All of this is to say that Leckey has always been a kind of memoirist, but one interested in the very forms of memory. He is concerned about his own past, but especially as it has been encoded in storage media, which is to say that he is curious about how these images allow him to play himself today. (Is everyone who focuses on himself or herself necessarily a narcissist? I am titling this essay after a book I have never read – Gertrude Stein’s Everybody’s Autobiography from 1937 – because I think that this is what Leckey is trying to create despite his exquisite specificity: Everybody’s Autobiography. He uses himself as a template through which others might see themselves, larger transformations in media, our relationship with technology, and so forth. As the artist Gregg Bordowitz has written, “Autobiography is a kind of pattern through which any person can read about themselves.” 2 Coincidentally, Everybody’s Autobiography is the book in which Stein famously said of her hometown, Oakland, California, “There is no there there,” a suggestion that it wasn’t much of a place, but which over time has come to seem like an increasingly contemporary condition.) So, to refresh, Leckey is a memoirist, but one interested in the forms of memory, and importantly he has always seen himself less as an individual than as part of a larger culture. He is a piece of a puzzle. A pixel in a picture. One image among others. A type of guy. His is everybody’s autobiography. He is a part of:
– ev ery body ’s au tobiogr a ph y – Alex Kitnick
Fiorucci culture. Casual culture. Subculture.
Mark Leckey in Ellesmere Port, Merseyside, 1984
Leckey, though, calls it popular culture. “Popular culture is just things that are immediate to me,” Leckey explained in a recent interview. “When I was in college in the ’80s, I found everything too detached or ironic, and I didn’t want to make work like that; I couldn’t make work with a critical disinterestedness. I decided that I should use as material my own history and background.” 3 This is what he was doing when he made 211
Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore and The Casuals. He foregrounded his background. And he stayed close to it. He stayed interested. In his engagement with popular culture, Leckey is taking part in, and inserting himself into, a particularly British tradition of art making. It is a very different tradition from the American Pop Art of Andy Warhol. The tradition starts with the Independent Group (IG), a postwar think tank of artists, architects, and critics, that investigated the contours of popular culture by hosting a series of lectures, exhibitions, and conversations at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London.4 People including John McHale and Reyner Banham explored topics like automobile design and information theory and B-grade films; Eduardo Paolozzi’s Bunk, a series of suggestive collages projected with the aid of an epidiascope, inaugurated the Group in 1952. It was in this milieu, in fact, that the phrase “pop art” first got tossed around, but in this context it was a lowercase phenomenon meaning popular magazines and movies. It wasn’t yet painting and sculpture based on such material.5 As Richard Hamilton put it in a famous letter of 1957, Pop Art was anything “popular (designed for a mass audience), transient (short-term solution), expendable (easily forgotten), low-cost, mass-produced, young (aimed at youth), witty, sexy, gimmicky, glamorous, and Big Business.” 6 In his 1959 essay “The Long Front of Culture,” the critic Lawrence Alloway, another member of the IG, claimed that “pop art” (though he didn’t call it that) presented a profound challenge to art as it had been traditionally defined. The only illustration in his article was a recent cover of Science Fiction Quarterly. It was as if everything else had been pushed outside. This is the critical tradition that Leckey comes from, but there is an even bigger context in which we can see his work. Let me try again. In his engagement with popular culture, Leckey takes part in, and inserts himself into, a particularly British tradition of art-making that is nested inside the British tradition of cultural studies. “For me, cultural studies really begins with the debate about the nature of social and cultural change in postwar Britain,” the critic Stuart Hall wrote in his 1991 essay “The Emergence of Cultural Studies and the Crisis of the Humanities.” “An attempt to address the manifest of breakup of traditional culture, especially class cultures, it set about registering the impact of the new forms of affluence and consumer society on the very hierarchical and pyramidal structure of British society.” 7 Cultural studies took off in the late 1950s with the work of Richard Hoggart (The Uses of Literacy) and Raymond Williams (Culture and Society). Dick Hebdige and his book Subculture: The Meaning of Style come out of this tradition, too – the tradition of measuring how affluence and consumption flipped tradition on its head. The Casuals is another chapter in this multivolume history; it is one small sliver chronicling the breakdown and the reordering of the structure of British society. Or, as Leckey put it, “Casuals dressed in luxurious sportswear, such as Ellesse, Cerrutti, Head, and in Lacoste and expensive golf wear, like Pringle and Lyle & Scott. All in powder blue, lemon, and pink pastels, with diamond-patterned sweaters. Gathered together, dressed like east-coast preppies at a British football ground, their intention wasn’t to blend in but to disrupt and confuse.” 8 Mark Leckey was born in Birkenhead, Wirral, near Liverpool, in 1964, the same year that The Beatles released Meet the Beatles!, A Hard Day’s Night, and Beatles for Sale. The IG was the fine-art avant garde of cultural studies. Lawrence Alloway published “The Long Front of Culture” in 1959. It was one of the first texts to understand the reordering of culture that was taking place – the impact of Pop Art. Alloway’s text appeared in the seventeenth issue of Cambridge Opinion, a magazine lodged in the heart of high culture, which, for this issue, featured a strip of punched tape on an otherwise black cover. The issue was dedicated to the theme of “Living with the 1960s.” “The abundance of twentieth century communications,” 212
Alloway began, “is an embarrassment to the traditionally educated custodian of culture.” 9 And this explosion demanded that culture be looked at in a different way. “Instead of reserving the word [culture] for the highest artifacts and the noblest thoughts of history’s top ten,” Alloway continued, “it needs to be used more widely as the description of ‘what a society does’.” 10 Alloway’s reimagining of culture – seeing it, anthropologically, as something done, rather than something that is – marked an important move. Culture was now to be understood as a series of forms to be practiced rather than a body of knowledge to be possessed. That said, there were things that people could possess – things like magazines, clothing, movies, et cetera – and Alloway saw this new way of life as accessible to growing numbers of people. The long front of culture was synonymous with culture’s democratizing; it offered the tools for people to represent themselves and organize their environments without the mediating factor of elites. There was something of the spirit of column-toppling in all of this. Verticality was being pulled into a horizontal position. Alloway called it a continuum. And here’s another thing that Alloway got right: since culture was changing, the status of things in that culture was changing, too. Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 film North by Northwest offered a perfect example in the way it privileged a package over a person. Though “the hero is an advertising man (a significant choice of profession) and though he is hunted from New York to South Dakota his clothes stay neatly Brooks Brothers,” Alloway pointed out. “That is to say, the dirt, sweat, and damage of pursuit are less important than the package in which the hero comes […]. The point is that the drama of possessions (in this case clothes) characterizes the hero as much as (or more than) his motivations and actions.” 11 As anyone who has seen the film knows, in North by Northwest, narrative comes apart at the seams, but Cary Grant’s suits stay neatly pressed. One might even go so far as to say that the movie is less motivated by self-propelled subjects than it is by fetishized objects 12 (the fact that the film largely revolves around a theme of mistaken identity only brings this point home). Now with this in mind, think about the Lacoste shirt and Leckey’s jumper – the power of these possessions. Remember, too, that it was Fiorucci, a clothing brand, which made Leckey hardcore. The long front of culture was Leckey’s first world, his formative environment. In certain respects, Alloway welcomed this new logic of exteriority and objectification. He seemed all too happy to dispense with humanist notions of “motivation” and “action” in favor of concepts such as style and design. Richard Hamilton’s 1956 collage, Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?, embraces these terms as well. The lollipop, tinned ham, television, and vacuum cleaner that populate its small square space upstage the muscle man and pinup as the true protagonists of the scene; in fact, the people themselves have become objectified. Although Alloway was open in some sense to such a “drama of possessions” replacing human performance, he ultimately believed that individuals would emerge from this new drama relatively unscathed. In his view, mass culture did not lead to the standardization of subjectivity. In fact – and this is a big in fact – he imagined that this new drama might actually produce individuals. “We speak for convenience about a mass audience but it is a fiction,” he wrote. “It is not the hand-craft culture which offers a choice of goods and services to everybody (teenagers, Mrs. Exeter, voyeurs, cyclists), but the industrialized one. As the market gets bigger, consumer choice increases: shopping in London is more diverse than in Rome; shopping in New York more diverse than in London.” 13 The long front of culture, then, was inextricable from the long front of consumption. As Alloway saw it, the battle against elite taste would have to be fought in the trenches of the market.
The casuals had a similar idea. Today, these fumes are still in the air. But, of course, things have changed. They have been sped up. Dematerialized. Broken apart. In 50 years’ time, the long front of culture and its dreams of social cohesion have given birth to the “Long Tail,” a businessman’s dream. The Long Tail refers to the lengthy line of niche markets that trails behind, but now exceeds, the old “head” of blockbuster hits that used to make the market run; it has been made possible by the world of dematerialized products and infinite shelf space that the Internet makes available (“The artifact, the record, the book, has its information extracted, unbound from its material form and set free,” Leckey insists).14 The Long Tail is the world of file sharing and user-generated content that has replaced the world of major studio productions. It is the world of watching a video whenever you want instead of going to cinema on Friday night. The term made its debut some years ago with the publication of Chris Anderson’s 2006 book The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More. Google CEO Eric Schmidt crows on the cover, “Anderson’s insights influence Google’s strategic thinking in a profound way.” Strange synchronicities exist between Anderson’s book and Alloway’s essay, though we cannot imagine that it is due to anything more than a spirit flowing through the ages. The rhetoric of surplus and choice are central to both projects. Where Alloway spoke of an “aesthetics of plenty,” (remember that he was writing in an “age of austerity”) “now, with online distribution and retail,” Anderson tells us, “we are entering a world of abundance.” 15 And, like Alloway, Anderson, too, sees the possibility of individuation at work: People are going deep into the catalog, down the long, long list of available titles, far past what’s available at Blockbuster Video and Tower Records (note the vertical metaphors in these names). And the more they find, the more they like. As they wander further from the beaten path, they discover their taste is not as mainstream as they thought (or as they had been led to believe by marketing, a hit-centric culture, and simply a lack of alternatives).16 For Anderson, the Long Tail is the declaration of independence for an “alternative” nation, allowing people to purchase and possess what they truly desire. It is cybernetic serendipity gone wild – a miraculous communication between man and machine. It proffers self-realization, but it is also, of course, a boon for business because as people discover their new interests, they are sold back to them in turn.17 On this point, Anderson demurs, wondering whether “the act of vastly increasing choice […] unlock[s] demand for that choice,” or “whether it was latent demand for niche goods that was already there.” 18 Tellingly, Anderson rarely utters the word “culture” in his manifesto – at least he does not invoke it in any elevated sense. The “culture” in the long front of culture has dropped off. Every television show, Internet site, song, and visual is simply content now, an opportunity to consume. Nothing is highbrow or lowbrow, but rather an entry in an endless catalog. If, for Alloway, a world of obtainable things promised to dismantle class distinctions, for Anderson they are simply cast aside. There are no upper or lower class people in Anderson’s world; there are only marketing demographics and datasets. Points along the Tail. (It can make you wish for culture again.) In his lecture, In the Long Tail (pp. 102–113), which was first staged, in 2008, at the Kölnischer Kunstverein in Cologne, and later in 2009 at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London and the Abrons Art Center in New York, Leckey sketched out some of 214
the repercussions of this move into the new territory.19 He wanted to tell us what it was like to live there. In doing so, he assumed something of the role of the cultural critic, except that he was far from critical; in fact, he was in awe of its powers. He called it magical and mythical. He carried on the tradition of image-gathering and analyzing that he initiated with Fiorucci, but now he was less of a preservationist. He seemed more future-oriented. He was more interested in how the Internet not only knew him but produced him in a cybernetic loop.20 If the long front of culture was accompanied by a “drama of possessions,” Leckey pulled the curtain up on what we might call a “drama of information.” Leckey began his lecture with a relatively straightforward explanation of the Long Tail phenomenon, using a blackboard and chalk to draw out the swollen head of the mainstream’s hits and the long tail of niches that drags behind. In the video on the artist’s YouTube channel, one can see him dressed in a nice white shirt, his sleeves rolled up. He looks ready to get to work, his hair in its trademark highlighted do. The presentation’s gist was relatively straightforward at first; it was a lesson, a didactic exposé; very little about it was “arty.” 21 All in all, it looked something like a slightly shaggy, stream-of-consciousness TED talk. (Anderson gave a TED talk in 2006.) But everything that happened those nights was not so straightforward. Over the course of the lecture, Leckey occasionally seemed overcome by the Long Tail. His voice got lost in a sea of reverb. Was the Tail collapsing back on him? Was he being overwhelmed by a swarm of information? Perhaps most notably, Leckey took recourse those nights to his favorite mascot, Felix the Cat. A wily cat with a rather lengthy extremity, Felix is a fitting emblem for this new form. Being the first object to become a televisual image, spinning around in front of a mechanical scanner in 1928, one might say that he is one of the inaugural figures of our contemporary image world. His own long tail, moreover, as captured stiffening and swaying with all the eroticism of an abstract strip show in Leckey’s 2008 animation Flix (pp. 122–123), communicates something of the mesmerizing and complex forces of seduction and desire that this new marketing scheme elicits. This silent film portrays a simple animation of a black tail collapsing, erecting, and flicking side to side. It is a compilation of flicks, in other words, but it is also a flick itself – that is, a film. And the medium is significant; it is important that Flix is not a sculpture of a tail, but a carousing image, a screened thing. But the film is perhaps even more significant because it shows what it feels like when a diagram, something flat and two-dimensional, a spread of plotted points, stands up, becomes animated, and takes on a life of its own. Flix is a diagram become tumescent. A line turned on. Leckey is not concerned with simply showing the structure of new consumption regimes on the Internet, but also with illustrating how they feel. And the feeling comes from being in the pattern, in the medium, rather than simply encountering individual pictures and images. The poster for Leckey’s London talk featured a curving acrylic speculum, further elaborating – if any further elaboration were needed – the sexual, but more importantly, the sensational and sensory profusion implicit in this new formation.22 If the title of his lecture is correct, Leckey is “in” the Long Tail, but his very ability to narrate and reflect on his experience suggests that he has at least one foot outside it.23 Clearly, it is impossible to assume a properly critical distance in this new world (there is no outside to it) or to believe in its libratory, individuating qualities as Alloway once did. Perhaps, though, it is equally difficult to enter it completely, to mesh seamlessly with consumption. Splitting the difference, Leckey assumes an amused, ironic, rather dandyish stance in between these two poles. One might think of Leckey as a kind of flâneur of the Long Tail. Certainly, he has done quite a bit in his dress and public presentation to make this point worth considering.24 A casual, I think, is a sort of flâneur, and vice versa. 215
Marshall McLuhan once said that the protagonist of Edgar Allen Poe’s story, “A Descent into the Maelstrom,” was able to save himself by moving with the tide, instead of swimming against it. “It was this amusement born of rational detachment as a spectator of his own situation that gave him the thread which led him out of the labyrinth,” McLuhan wrote, contrasting this tact to that of “moral indignation.” 25 Leckey, I think, takes a similar approach – what we might call a kind of rational, amused, spectatorial distance – and yet at the same time he seems very much in its clutches. In many ways, his job has become that of narrating his own experience from inside, and telling his own long tale.26 Perhaps, such storytelling is the limit of artistic practice today. It’s a kind of talking cure. All the same time one cannot help but wonder how much longer the Long Tail will continue to wag the dog, which is to say how much longer will a system of protocol and profiling structure our subjective lives? Is there anything after the Long Tail? Answer omitted. A final question: What is the status of the individual, the memoir, and the autobiography in a world in which the energy/subjectivity of the user and consumer makes the system run? 27 As much as the you and the I have become capitalist fuel today, Leckey refuses to get rid of himself; rather, he has decided to explore how he has been stitched together by various technologies. His latest project, On Pleasure Bent (2014, see p. 9), is apparently going to be a video autobiography – one might even say a retrospective – of his life from his birth until the recent birth of his first child, composed largely out of what he calls “found memories.” Things like television clips, searched images, clipped pictures. The work will focus on various episodes of his life in relation to various cultural and technological paradigms. It is to be arranged like an album with tracks that have names like The Mechanical Boy (Autism) and When the Lights Went Out (Electricity). If this work takes the form of an album, imagine it in a jukebox. That seems to be as good a place as any for preserving one form of yourself as another takes its place. One can always go back and play it again later and reminisce about what things used to be like.
10 11 12
Mark Leckey, “The Casuals,” in: Open City, 9, Fall 1999, pp. 119 –127. Gregg Bordowitz, General Idea: Imagevirus, Afterall Books, London, 2010, p. 20. Bordowitz also discusses Stein in his text. Mark Fisher, “Art Stigmergy,” in: Kaleidoscope, 11, Summer 2011, p. 151. See: David Robbins (ed.), The Independent Group: Postwar Britain and the Aesthetics of Plenty, MIT Press, Cambridge/MA, 1990. For more on this, see: Lawrence Alloway, “‘Pop Art’ since 1949,” in: Richard Kalina (ed.), Imagining the Present: Context, Content, and the Role of the Critic, Routledge, London, 2006, pp. 81–87. Richard Hamilton, Collected Words, 1953–1982, Thames and Hudson, London, 1982, p. 28. Stuart Hall, “The Emergence of Cultural Studies and the Crisis of the Humanities,” in: October, 53, Summer 1990, p. 12. Leckey, op. cit., p. 120. Lawrence Alloway, “The Long Front of Culture,” in: Cambridge Opinion, 17, 1959, pp. 24–26. Reprinted in Imagining the Present, Routledge, Abingdon, 2006, pp. 61–64. Alloway’s position here is very close to that of the literary critic Raymond Williams, who claimed “the theory of culture as a theory of relations between elements in a whole way of life.” See: Raymond Williams, Culture and Society, 1780–1950, Columbia University Press, New York, 1958, p. viii. Ibid, p. 25. Ibid, p. 25. In many ways, the film is a story of a suit. Grant’s character, Roger Thornhill, often comments on it. “That’ll do the suit a lot of good,” he says after it’s been crammed into a suitcase. Alloway, op. cit., p. 25. Mark Leckey, “The Long Tail,” in: Dot Dot Dot, 20, October 2010, p. 26, and republished under the corresponding performance lecture’s title “In the Long Tail,” in this publication, p. 105. Chris Anderson, The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More, Hyperion, New York, 2006, p. 18. Ibid, p. 16. “In visiting and clicking through sites, atomized users provide data about themselves that guides the machine to perfect itself,” the critic Julian Stallabrass wrote in 2003; “and it changes not quite to serve their needs but to exploit the dataset that is the sum of their inputs.” Julian Stallabrass, in: Internet Art: The Online Clash of Culture and Commerce, Tate Publishing, London, 2003, p. 64. Anderson, op. cit., p. 24. The script was also published in the final issue of the journal Dot Dot Dot, 20, October 2010, pp. 25–32. “For example, whenever I do a Google search the information I receive is the feedback, and that feedback allows me to narrow my search – to be more specific in what I ask for,” Leckey said. “As I repeat this process I’m continually feeding more and more information into the system, which it uses to update itself. So the system is learning with me, until eventually it understands my needs and can continue the process I initiated without my real involvement anymore. I am
now in a continual feedback loop, having programmed a cybernetic device.” Mark Leckey, “The Long Tail,” in: Dot Dot Dot, 20, October 2010, p. 29, and this publication, p. 107. 21 One might be reminded here of Joseph Beuys’s pedagogical demonstrations in which he often used blackboards and other teaching aids. He often exhibited blackboards as artworks as well. 22 This is not to say that the Internet is a site of fulfillment and consummation. Leckey refers to it as a site of “bachelordom,” a phrase that brings to mind Marcel Duchamp’s Large Glass, or The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (1915–23), in which the work’s bachelors continuously fire blanks at the bride without ever hitting their mark. 23 Although Leckey published his text as “The Long Tail” in Dot Dot Dot, the performance bears the title In the Long Tail. 24 As Walter Benjamin defined it, the flâneur is not a man of the crowd, but someone who passes through it with a bit of “elbow room.” Walter Benjamin, “On Some Motifs in Baudelaire,” in: Illuminations, Schocken, New York, 1969, p. 172. 25 Marshall McLuhan, The Mechanical Bride: Folklore of Industrial Man, Beacon Press, Boston, 1951, p. v. 26 Leckey shares this penchant for first-person narrative with other artists of his generation, such as Frances Stark. 27 A new series of YouTube ads features three emblematic characters filling in the company name: “You fight bullies with style,” one reads.
Lending Enchantment to Vulgar Materials WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels September 26, 2014 – January 11, 2015
Mark Leckey Haus der Kunst, Munich January 30 – May 31, 2015
Mark Leckey. MADRESCENZA – Seasonal School Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina – Madre Napoli Winter 2014–15
UniAddDumThs Kunsthalle Basel March 5 – May 31, 2015
Curator: Elena Filipovic Assistant Curator: Charlotte Friling
Curator: Patrizia Dander
MADRESCENZA Project Curator: Andrea Viliani
Curator: Elena Filipovic
Stiftung Haus der Kunst München, gemeinnützige Betriebsgesellschaft mbH Director: Okwui Enwezor Team: Tina Anjou, Stephan N. Barthelmess, Sabine Brantl, Daniela Burkart, Sylvia Clasen, Arnulf von Dall’Armi, Patrizia Dander, Martina Fischer, Elena Heitsch, Tina Köhler, Anton Köttl, Isabella Kredler, Teresa Lengl, Anne Leopold, Julienne Lorz, Karin Mahr, Marco Graf von Matuschka, Miro Palavra, Glenn Rossiter, Andrea Saul, Cassandre Schmid, Anna Schüller, Sonja Teine, Ulrich Wilmes
Fondazione Donnaregina per le Arti Contemporanee: Pierpaolo Forte, President; Laura Cherubini, Vice President; Antonio Blandini, Counselor
Kunsthalle Basel Director: Elena Filipovic Team: Beatrice Hatebur, General Management; Renate Wagner, Head of Exhibitions; Ruth Kissling, Assistant Curator; Klaus Haenisch, Chief Exhibition Technician; Elena Gerosa, Herbert Rehbein, and Uwe Walther, Exhibition Technicians; Sanja Lukanovic, Head of Educational Services; Leonie Brenner, Educational Services; Jan Kudrnovsky, Administration; Edith Kämmerle, Accountant; Heidrun Ziems, Library; Sören Schmeling and Mara Berger, Research Assistants; Rinny Biberstein, Head of Reception; Lea Hummel, Sima Djabar Zadegan, and Renée Steffen, Reception; Sibylle Reichenbach, Intern
WIELS Director: Dirk Snauwaert Team: Devrim Bayar, Wim Clauwaert, Benoît De Wael, Michael Dewit, Caroline Dumalin, Nadia Essouayah, Elena Filipovic, Charlotte Friling, Eva Gorsse, Fredji Hayebin, Ari Hiroshige, Kwinten Lavigne, Martine de Limburg Stirum, Micha Pycke, Sophie Rocca, Michèle Rollé, Cédrik Toselli, Frédérique Versaen Board and General Assembly members: Inge C. de Bruin-Heijn, Herman J. Daled, Bart De Baere, Chris Dercon, Pierre Iserbyt, Ann Veronica Janssens, Sophie Le Clercq, Bruno van Lierde, Michel Moortgat, Frédéric Rouvez, Luc Tuymans, Richard Venlet, Sylvie Winckler WIELS Contemporary Art Centre Av. Van Volxemlaan 354 b–1190 Brussels tel +32 (0) 2 340 00 53 www.wiels.org
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Scientific Committee of Fondazione Donnaregina per le Arti Contemporanee: Andrea Bellini, Johanna Burton, Bice Curiger, Gianfranco Maraniello, Chus Martínez Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina – Madre Napoli: Andrea Viliani, Director; Gianni Limone, Financial Director; Silvia Salvati, Exhibition Manager, with Juliana Fisichella; Vincenzo Trione, Head of Department; Olga Scotto di Vettimo, Researcher; Alessandra Troncone, Researcher; Alessandro Rabottini, Curator at Large; Eugenio Viola, Curator at Large Scabec SpA (Organization and Management): Maurizio Di Stefano, President; Franco Tumino, CEO; Rosanna Cappelli, Counselor; Massimo Lo Cicero, Counselor; Ciro Russo, Counselor; Francesca Maciocia, Director; Maurizio D’Amico, Luigi Panaro, General Coordination; Carlotta Branzanti, Anna Civale, Tiziana Rocco with Francesca Buonomo, Annalisa Virgili (Exhibition Coordination by Electa); Monica Brognoli, Anna Salvioli with Luisa Maradei, Valeria Vacca, web-social network (Communication and Press Office by Electa); Valérie Béliard, Silvia Cassani (Publications by Electa); Bruno D’Antonio, Valeria Pitterà with Marina Vinto, Daniela Bruscino (Museum and Educational Services by Coopculture); Giuseppe Codispoti with Laura Aversa, Annamaria Caffarelli (Marketing by Coopculture); Civin Vigilanza SRL, Pacifico Costruzioni SpA, Gamba Service SpA (Security, Maintenance, Cleaning)
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UniAddDumThs is organized with the collaboration of WIELS, Brussels Kunsthalle Basel is generously supported by the Canton of Basel-Stadt
Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina – Madre Napoli Via Settembrini 79 i–80139 Naples tel +39 081 19313016 www.madrenapoli.it
Mark Leckey – On Pleasure Bent is published to coincide with the exhibitions: Lending Enchantment to Vulgar Materials September 26, 2014 – January 11, 2015 WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels Mark Leckey January 30 – May 31, 2015 Haus der Kunst, Munich It is also published on the occasion of the MADRESCENZA – Seasonal School seminar, Mark Leckey, winter 2014–15, co-organized by Fondazione Donnaregina per le Arti Contemporanee / Madre – Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina, Naples With additional support by Kunsthalle Basel in connection with their presentation of UniAddDumThs, March 5 – May 31, 2015
Editors: Patrizia Dander and Elena Filipovic Publication coordinator: Patrizia Dander, assisted by Elisabeth Stoiber Copy editor: Kimberly Bradley Proofreader: Sylee Gore Translator: Fiona Elliott (Patrizia Dander essay) Graphic design: Sara De Bondt studio Printing and binding: Die Keure, Brugge Cover: Mark Leckey, On Pleasure Bent Cover, 2014 Published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Köln Ehrenstr. 4, 50672 Köln Distribution: Germany & Europe Buchhandlung Walther König, Köln tel +49 (0)221 20 59 6 53 fa x +49 (0)221 20 59 6 60 email@example.com uk & Eire Cornerhouse Publications 70 Oxford Street gb-Manchester m1 5nh tel +44 (0)161 200 15 03 fa x +44 (0)161 200 15 04 firstname.lastname@example.org usa & Canada d.a.p., Distributed Art Publishers 55 Sixth Avenue/ 2nd Floor usa-New York, ny 10013 tel +1 (0)212 627 1999 fa x +1 (0)212 627 9484 email@example.com ISBN 978-3-86335-618-7
Mark Leckey, the editors, and the publishing institutions would like to thank the following people: Gavin Brown and Jamie Kenyon from Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York; Daniel Buchholz, Christopher Müller, and Filippo Weck from Galerie Buchholz, Berlin/Cologne; Freddie Checketts, Martin McGeown, and Andrew Wheatley from Cabinet Gallery, London, and Sara De Bondt. Taylor Absher / New York University Advanced Media Studio (AMS), Danai Anesiadou, Ara Arslanian, Charles Asprey, Ronald Asprey, Ed Atkins, Tim Bacon, Amanda Baggs, Maria Barnas, Jon Barraclough, Tamara Beheydt, Akiko Bernhöft, Mark Blower, Brian Bress, Jérôme Blanchevoye / JCDecaux Street Furniture Belgium S.A., Mark Blower, Christian and Karen Boros, Louise Bourgeois, Edwin Burdis, Steven Cairns / Institute of Contemporary Arts, Lizzie Carey-Thomas / Tate Britain, Maurizio Cattelan, Angela Choon / David Zwirner, Peter Coffin, Alastair Cookson, Chris Cunningham / Aphex Twin, John Cussans, Anja NathanDorn, Claudine Duvivier, Emilie Forget / Le Consortium, Dan Fox, Daniele Frazier, Clare Gannaway / Manchester Art Gallery, Herman Geubels / DDP Brussels, Terry Gilliam, Charles Gohy, Wolfgang Günzel, Jean-Louis de Halleux / s.a. D’Ieteren, Richard Hamilton, Lee Healey, Florian Hecker, Sven Hermans / Materialise, Nicola Hicks, Susan Hiller, Antonia Hirsch, Erich Hörl, Alex Hubbard, Kathrin Jentjens, Andy Keate, Dr. Kristin Kennedy / Victoria and Albert Museum, Alex Kitnick, Jon Lash / Digital Atelier, Elad Lassry, Andrea MaciasYanez, Herman Makkink, Pietro Torrigiani Malaspina and Maddalena Fossombroni / Castello di Fosdinovo, Roger Malbert / Hayward Touring, Maurice Marciano, Emily Martinez, Xavier Mary, Sander Mulder, James Mullord, David Musgrave, Suzanne Pagé and Ludovic Delalande / Fondation Louis Vuitton, Chelsea Pettitt / Hayward Touring, Alessandro Raho, Stéphanie Rollin / The Plug, Walter Sache, Alexander Schröder, Jim Shaw, Raf Simons, Sanne Sinnige, Kerstin Stakemeier, Paolo Stolpmann / Boros Collection, Stephanie Schwarze, Siegfried Smeets, Mike Sperlinger, Abi Spinks / Nottingham Contemporary, Ali Subotnick / Hammer Museum, Miroslav Tichý, Gigiotto Del Vecchio, Tom Wallman, Robert Wilson, Jane Won / De La Warr Pavilion, and Catherine Wood / Tate Modern.
Unless otherwise stated, all photographs are courtesy of the artist and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York; Galerie Buchholz, Berlin/Cologne; and Cabinet Gallery, London: pp. 14–15 Photograph by Brian Forrest, courtesy of Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; pp. 16–17, 84–85, 164–165, 191, 206 Courtesy of the artist and Cabinet Gallery, London; pp. 19, 24–25 Photographs by Andy Keate, courtesy of Nottingham Contemporary and Hayward Touring, London; pp. 20–21 Photograph by Jon Barraclough 2013, courtesy of The Bluecoat, Liverpool, and Hayward Touring, London; pp. 22–23, 26–27 Photographs by Nigel Green, courtesy of De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea, and Hayward Touring, London; pp. 30–31 Photograph by Christiano Corte; p. 34 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London; p. 47 Photograph by Alessandro Raho; p. 49 Stills from a documentation by Nick Relph; pp. 50–51, 58, 68–69, 103–104, 108, 110–111, 225 Photographs by Mark Blower; pp. 54–55 Photograph by Alan Seabright, courtesy of Manchester Art Gallery; pp. 56–57 Photograph by Kim Williams, courtesy of Walter Philipps Gallery at the Banff Centre; pp. 62–63, 70–71, 159, 209 Courtesy of the artist and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York; pp. 82–83, 87–88, 91 Photographs by Andy Keate; pp. 101–102, 106, 114 Photographs by Amy C. Elliott; pp. 118–119, 174–175, 185, 192–195, 208 Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Buchholz, Berlin/Cologne; p. 123 Photographs by Simon Vogel, courtesy of Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne; pp. 124– 125, 182 photographer unknown, courtesy of the artist; p. 147 Photograph by Wolfgang Günzel; pp. 148, 190 Photographs by André Morin, courtesy of Le Consortium, Dijon; pp. 188–189 Photographs by Sophie Rickett; p. 210 Courtesy of the artist; pp. 220 top left, 222–223 Photographs by Ben Brett.
We would also like to thank the following companies and institutions: Ashmolean Picture Gallery, AUDI, Formlabs, JCDecaux Street Furniture Belgium S. A., Marc O’Polo, Nissan Design Europe, RSLSteeper, and Victoria and Albert Museum. Additional thanks go to: The Henry Moore Foundation.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publishers.
© 2014 Madre; Stiftung Haus der Kunst München, gemeinnützige Betriebsgesellschaft mbH; WIELS; the artist, the authors, the photographers, and Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Köln We thank all copyright owners for their kind permission to reproduce their material. Should, despite our intensive research, any person entitled to rights have been overlooked, legitimate claims shall be compensated within the usual provisions.