The simultaneity of different modes of existence, or of consciousness, that is significant for the present networked, digital era, is an issue inherent in a number of this British artist’s works. The exhibition’s key figure is a middle-aged man in a polka-dot dress and hat, kneeling on the pavement in supplication – a gesture that recalls icons of saints or martyrs. For Leckey, this scene from Billy Wilder’s screwball comedy 1, 2, 3 (1961) perfectly embodies the ecstatic moment of transition.
The show in Secession’s main exhibition hall with its at the same time prosaic and sacral layout will include a range of LED screens featuring looped video clips and Leckey’s new film, among other things.
The painter Alessandro Raho, whom Leckey invited to collaborate on this project, is contributing a series of portraits of the so-called Polka Dot Man, and a kind of ‘family portrait’, which will be shown in the Grafisches Kabinett.
The highly idiosyncratic work of Mark Leckey combines installations, objects, videos, and sound sculptures with popular culture, in particular British subculture. In his iconic video Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore (1999), he compiled found footage from 1970s Northern Soul to Rave in the late 1990s, thus creating a visual essay on over twenty years of dance culture in England. He explores the cultural identity that shapes our society characterised by commerce and consumer goods fetishism and, more recently, digital technologies and the impact they have on the relationships between people, objects, and environ-ments, for instance with exhibition projects such as The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things (Hayward Touring, UK, 2013) or Lending Enchantment to Vulgar Materials (WIELS, Brussels, 2014).
Leckey has become an influential figure for a young generation of artists, referred to as ‘the artist of the YouTube generation’ (The Guardian). Beside presenting his new project We Transfer, the complete body of Mark Leckey’s video works will be screened in a cinema room installed at the Secession.